Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Confessions of a retired school teacher…

When I retired from teaching school in 2005, I had hoped to finally tackle the long list of “projects” that I had been putting off until I had “TIME.” Here I am, 6 years later…my list of projects keeps growing with very little being accomplished!

At the beginning of each New Year I have this strong desire to “get organized.” Then I read this great little book Project: Organization by Marie Ricks.

The author points out that the term “getting organized” implies that organization is a destination or end result - unfortunately, I learned that organization is an on-going process - a way of life, NOT a goal that can be completed & checked off a list. I was soooooo depressed! I felt that I would NEVER get there…whereever “there” was?

Then I realized that I just needed to change my mind set. I need to “be” organized. I have come to understand that our lives are in constant cycles of organization – we move from organization to disorganization & back again in everything we do…the reality is that there are always groceries to buy, meals to fix, laundry to do, bills to pay…I just need to embrace the cycle!

I seem to spin my wheels - a lot – there are so many things I want to do that I don’t end up doing any of them because I don’t know where to start! So I turned to the most organized person I know - my wonderfully OCD, “every-second-counts” husband, the master list-maker, for the help that I needed to seriously tackle my project list. So his advice? You guessed it, start with a “list” of all the projects you want to do without regard to priority. (I was getting hung up on which project was most important before I wrote it down, silly me.)

Here is my “partial” project list. I say partial because, like organization, projects are in constant flux & new projects are continually making their way on my list, pushing the others aside as the need arises! Some projects are time sensitive & must move to the top of the list (like a birthday gift, or a Christmas gift, or a baby shower gift, etc). So basically I need to let go of the idea that ALL of my projects make it onto the “final” list because the list will continue to evolve. Oh yeah, the list:

- Copy & send the pictures I took (over a year ago) to my friend who moved to Iowa – seriously, I’m the WORST FRIEND EVER!

- Finish the holiday pillowcases for my last grandson.

- Grandson’s quilt (I decided that I would make each of my grandchildren a small quilt when they turned 8 years old. I’m only one quilt behind right now, but I have a granddaughter turning 8 in April!)

- Pioneer dresses for my granddaughters (I made them for 2 of them, so now I feel like I need to make them for the others…guilt is a terrible thing!)

- Catalogue/organize & scan ALL my favorite pictures – yes, since the beginning of time!

- Finish my personal history – another project that requires continual adjustments because I am still experiencing my history.

- Add pictures to my parents histories – at least I have their histories written already!

- Make 3 more Nativity advents for this Christmas (I ran out of time last Christmas & only completed ½ of my goal.) – I was becoming a stress-monster & decided it wasn’t worth it - the others could wait.

- I purchased fabric 3 years ago to make a special dress…I want to make that dress!

- I just took something off my list as I realized that it really wasn’t important enough to put on this list! Ha! I’m growing up…I don’t have to do it all!

- Transfer my old home videos to DVD (At least I’ve already purchased the program to do this – that’s a step in the right direction!)

- Go through the attic boxes & see if I’m ready to get rid of any of those treasures that I’ve been hanging onto for all these years.

- Figure out how to use my new serger! New toys are always fun…

- Catalogue/organize our business travel trips

- Catalogue/organize our personal travel trips – including our African safari from 1998!

- Copy the pictures from our last family cross-country Church history trip for the kids (Wasn’t that like, 2001? – I’m the WORST MOTHER EVER!)

- Geneology/family history – another one of those “on going” projects.

- “The” t-shirt quilts (I’ve been hanging onto my kids’ special t-shirts through the years to make a t-shirt quilt out of them…I’ve finished 2 of them already.)

- Finish putting pictures in the kids’ baby books (Yes, I know my baby is 24!)

UGH! I know the list is overwhelming…but I’m told that we get from here to there by putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. I have come to realize that I cannot complete any of these projects without a plan. My next step will be to find a box for each project so that I can take one of these projects out whenever I am ready to tackle one. Hopefully this will make it easier to decide which are time sensitive, maybe try to determine how long each project will take, then try to “temporarily” prioritize…because “life” happens & will inevitably determine what the list looks like on any given day.

Do you think I need to see a psychologist to determine whether or not I will go crazy if I try to do all of these projects of if I will make myself crazier if I attempt to do them all? Seriously? I do not think that I’m a quitter, but what is the real value in these projects anyway?