First, I have to give credit to Philippa. She wrote a post on her blog at The Feisty Blue Gecko which was titled The Five Stickie Plan.
As I was reading the post, I was staring at my notebook, my (I never do anything on them) to-do lists and a plan began to formulate. I've trained myself to rely on my phone calendar which sync's across my laptop and my iPad. When Apple set up iCloud, their invention met me at the place where my brain resides. Through the fog, beyond the haze my brain remains, in a CLOUD.
Something clicked when I saw the way Philippa was using the little stickie notes. I already did the post-it note thing. When the post its were buried by other papers, they quickly lost their effectiveness. Seeing that I was supposed to pay a bill on Monday as I was sorting through papers ten days later on a Wednesday would simply beg the question, "WHEN did you write that note?" Immediately followed by, "WHAT bill?" And soon both a question and a thought, "What utility or service is on the verge of being disconnected?" and "Your credit, the credit you've painstakingly built over the past few decades is being decimated in one fell swoop."
My problem isn't because I have too much to do (although I might but I'll examine that closer at another time), it's because there is too much variety. In a former life, I believe I would call that multi-tasking. In this post chemo, addled, distracted brain, can't figure out how to get myself started FOR STARTERS, "variety" and these tasks of monumental magnitude might include:
Mail a thank you note (yes, with a piece of paper and a stamp!) which is now at least four notes and let's just say there may be one or two people who will be stunned when the get the notes. It's been that long. And, it will take me three minutes.
Blog posts swirling in my brain.
Items that I set aside to read (Like the damn research study that was published on cognitive issues that I can NOT ACCESS unless I pay $31.50).
Discussing the access issue with the folks at the MSK library or reaching out to another organization to find out how I might be able to get access as a patient advocate.
And then the ordinary, schedule a hair appointment, time for a pedicure, call the dentist for a follow up to have this temporary thing adjusted now that the gum is healing... once these simple calls are made, an official hand off is made to the calendar in the cloud that magically appears on my phone.
Enter: The notebook, the stickies, the folders and colored fine line sharpie pens.
Here's what it all looks like.
The notebook pages are color coordinated with some sort of quasi-related items. I began stressing about whether something belonged on the blue page or the green page and then realized it DIDN'T MATTER. As long as I put a post it note that I would understand on any page, this could work.
I know this looks like I have a ton
of things to do, but EVERYTHING gets written down!
The post it notes are in a nice little plastic container where I can see all the colors:
AND, the colors on those pages are nicely coordinated with these bright mylar folders:
AND, I love pens. Every kind of pen.... These multi-colored sharpies which came in one pack, perfect for the job:
Don't try matching up the colors. The folder that looks yellow is actually orange and you will see there IS a page of orange notes. What's missing? Well, there are yellow post its with no corresponding folder (I SWEAR it's orange) and there's a red folder but no red post its. Technically there are, but they are in the shape of an apple, too big for the job..... so they are still packed away with a host of other folders that I haven't incorporated into this gig. I'm trying to keep it simple.
Now, follow along. Keep Up. The RED folder is for my writing... my blog ideas. Get it? NO???? REALLY? Just look at the blog page and it should be obvious! No brainer. The red folder is for the writing stuff.... Uh oh....Now what? I have no red notes. That's where the pens come into the picture. The yellow post its are written in red ink.
I only got this situation together over the weekend so the jury is still out as to whether or not it will resolve my problems. I do know I feel the stress lifted because I can flip through the note book, choose something, and go find any supporting paperwork in the corresponding folder. And then Get.It.Done. In other words, the part of my brain that was filled with worry is now free.
This is a huge improvement:
Which means I can send my brain up into the cloud to wander aimlessly as I focus on making sure I remove at least one more stickie than I add on any given day. Just ONE. The trick is making sure the notebook and the phone are always in the same spot.
Check the phone, pick a task and start with that thank you note to Apple for inventing the Cloud just for me!