Today’s prompt is “What is something you wish you knew how to do?”. I let this one marinate the entire day and, believe it or not, the only thing I could come up with was “be more organised”. My desk is most often full of clutter and so is my inbox and my desktop and my folders. You get the picture. Every day I juggle being a student, a single mum, managing a team and working in a hybrid role so you would think I have this organisational thing down pat by now. But noooo, not me. Every day I am caught by surprise by something I forgot. It’s exhausting. I have tried everything I can think of but the skill of organising stuff well continues to elude me. Here’s a taste of the various ways I have tried to master this skill.
I cannot believe how many apps there are out there to help you get organised. I have tried a few but none have quite stuck yet. I have tried:
Evernote: note bad but things like tables can’t be viewed in full on a screen. I also suspect that I have not investigated it’s full functionality though. I love that I can lock this app with a password.
Notion: this is actually not too bad an app. I love that I can organise pages inside pages. I found some of the templates useful as well.
Mem: I actually love this one. Talk about organising pages inside pages! You can link so many different types of information in so many ways. It’s pretty cool.
Microsoft To-Do: A good every day app to set up reminders if I remember to actually create the tasks🤦♀️
Any-Do: Not dramatically different from Ms To-Do.
Ms OneNote: This one is great on the computer. I am so thrilled that I can “dock to desktop” again. An extremely useful feature that allows you take notes while working.
iReminders: same functionality as Any-do and Ms To-do
iNote – I probably use this most often to save bits of info that I come across and create the text for an IG post.
I’ll stop there. I know, I know I might have an organisational app hoarding problem. I discover most apps through articles on Medium. I have now learned to scroll past any article that promises the new best app to organise my life. It’s not the apps. It’s me.
Paper and Pen
I love paper and pen. I love writing. I have diaries. I have planners. Heck, I even designed my own planner on Canva to help myself. I write in them about once a month, if I remember. That tells how well that’s working out for me.
Soooo…since it’s probably not the tools that I have chosen to try, I decided to try creating a routine that would ensure that I make better use of the tools and thereby become better organised. (Phew, that was a wordy sentence!) Enter James Clear’s Atomic Habits book and course. “If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.” he says. Well I have yet to master putting together a system that works for me.
Maybe being organised is just not part of my identity yet and that is why I have yet to create a system that works for me. Since my word for this year is “Action” and my mantra is “This is who I am now” every time I need adopt a new action to replace an old one (I learned this method of reshaping your identity to change your habits from a David Goggins interview), perhaps this is the year that I finally succeed in being a well-organised person.
Of course I am always open to tips and tricks so please do share what works for you.
Yesterday I received the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from our team at work. It was a congratulatory gift for completing my BA degree. I was thrilled and very grateful for the gesture. It was only this afternoon that the thought occurred to me that I don’t give myself enough credit for my achievements. I need to acknowledge me more often and, more importantly God, for only through Him are all things possible.
So I want to take this moment to acknowledge God for making it possible for me to complete my degree while I was:
Getting my head around a new role in which I had to relearn old skills and learn new skills all at the same time (I am still not where i need to be but I will get there)
Acting as chairperson in our body corporate for the last 2 years
Buying a new home and adjusting to a new relationship at the same time
Dealing with the end of that relationship, the loss of my mother and the break-up of my family all at the same
Giving my son and I the space to grieve together for the loss of my mum in particular
Adjusting to a diagnosis of diabetes and learning to live with it and how to overcome it
Working on healing and growing myself through the use of self-help and spiritual books
Working from home during the lockdown and trying to ensure that my son maintains a certain level of education all by myself. At the same time I did the Mind Power course. I also had to ensure that all the lockdown regulations were being followed in our complex and prepare for and write my exams. (I have to say that it was exhausting juggling everything and I still can’t believe that I passed my exams1 )
Supporting my son in all his sporting endeavors and making sure we maintain a good quality life and that he hardly ever feels neglected and just doing my best to be as good a parent as I know how to him.
Losing my favourite aunt almost exactly year after losing my mum. The whole experience was like losing my mum all over again.
I started writing and got my blog going and have written on other platforms like Medium an Quora. I have enjoyed this tremendously!
Fitting in assignments between travels to Dubai and China.
And of course, trying to be a good friend, sister, daughter, cousin, aunt and niece to those I love and have given me their support.
It’s been an amazing 6 years. Most of the stuff mentioned happened in the last 3 of the 6 years. So it’s been quite a ride! Phew! I deserve those flowers at the very least I think ..lol.
I am taking a break this semester and aim to start my honours in Psych next year. I am so excited about that! It will be my first honours degree! My end goal is a Phd in Psych and I have no doubt that I will achieve. It’s only a matter of time. God will go before me and make a way.
I have done this exercise for another reason as well. Listing your achievements helps to change your mindset from one of lack to one of abundance and success. The thinking is that you will remind yourself of what it feels like to be successful so that you continue to feel those feelings and draw more success to yourself. Nope, it’s not hogwash. I invite you to think back to a time when you were feeling really great about something. What other good things suddenly started happening to you? I can guarantee you that you received a welcome surprise while you were in that state. If you pay attention , you will find that these welcome surprises pop up when you are thrilled about something good that has happened in your life or are in a state of deep and authentic gratitude.
I encourage you to go ahead and list your achievements and all the things you had to overcome to get there. Remind yourself of what a successful person you already are, because you are!
Thanks for reading this piece. Covid19 is still a real threat so stay home and stay safe.
“If you haven’t started, then taking action is more important than finding the best strategy. If you’re already taking action, then ensuring you’re working on the right thing is more important than working harder. Your effort sets your floor. Your strategy sets your ceiling.”