I have tried all sorts of organizational strategies in my life, most of which have been utter failures. I'm good at setting them up, but not so great at following through consistently. I find the more technological they are -- for example, anything requiring a computer -- the less likely I am actually to use them. My calendar on my MacBook still flags on-going meetings that haven't been going on for years, and to-do lists from 2007. Finally, this year, I hit on a very low-tech strategy that seems to work for me. Right before the New Year, I bought a pretty, red Moleskine notebook with blank pages. At the outer top corner of each page, I have written the date, beginning with "Th Jan 1." Today is "June 15 M." On the inside front cover are a few recurring checklists for housekeeping and self-care, which I try to check occasionally, but mostly now can check mentally. On the blank pages for each day, I write appointments, of course, but there is still room on each page for my daily to-do list, which is the sum total of my organizational strategy: pencil and paper and a list. What doesn't get done one day can be put on the next day's list. Sometimes I work off the same list for a couple of days, but I find it's better, and more satisfying, if I write a new list each morning.
Here's today's list (pretend I have hand-written a small square in front of each item, for checking off when complete):
- morning chores (this is one of my lists from the front inside cover, and includes breakfast dishes, making beds, a load of laundry, putting away clothes and shoes from the day before, and cleaning the bathroom sink)
- send email to school board re: revision of bylaws for tomorrow's retreat
- take car to shop
- take a walk (home from car shop)
- call re: garden permit (did you know you need a permit to plant a garden on your own property if it is not adjacent to your house? I just got a letter in the mail Saturday informing me of this fact.... and Marta leans just a little bit more libertarian...)
- clean bathrooms
- hang dining room curtain cat recently pulled down
- meal planning/make grocery list
- shell peas
- freeze strawberries
- grocery shop
- put this list on blog (check)
- Melissa arrives @4:00!!