Organizing has always been one of my things… but not exactly my husband’s. Bryan was the exact opposite of organizing. In the early years of our marriage, it was rough because of our polar opposite personalities.
Spontaneous vs. Detailed
While he was impetuous and spontaneous, I had a detailed outline and list for everything. My monthly and weekly schedule date book, my pocket daily date book, my school schedule organizer. I was probably the only teen that got excited about daily calendars.
Once we married I had a list for everything. On the wall of every apartment, rental home, owned home, a phone list was firmly taped near the phone. (This was way before the cell phone existed.) Once I found plastic sleeves, I was in heaven. I created a three-ring binder with lists. This personality trait was extremely helpful as we moved some 25 times, plowed through the ten years of homeschooling and juggled the multiple sports teams my husband coached. (Not to mention the times he was the head of some sporting commission – we’re talking at least twenty calls a day!)
For my children, each had their very own planner. On top of that, I had my big three ring family planner binder. Each kid was assigned a color with daily planning sheets, weekly planning sheets, monthly planning sheets, short term goals, long term goals, appointments, game schedules… I could keep going. But I’ll spare you.
This would sometimes drive my family CRAZY!
When the Organized becomes the Disorganized
Moving had become a second nature to me and I seemed to live for the thrill of labeling boxes. Each section of our home was color coded with a number. In my “Master-Moving” three ring binder, pages would be separated by color in coordination with room colors, numbers would be assigned to the boxes with the contents listed. Once we arrived at the new house, colors went straight to the right room. With my master list, I began to unload by priority of need.
This saved my sanity and helped unpacking go much easier.
After being married for over 28 years, (to the love of my life, I might add), our personalities have meshed. Bryan is definitely no longer disorganized. He’s managed multi-million dollar companies with thousands of employees, recreational soccer teams, high school football & soccer teams – all at the same time. He’s led countless organizations into success and many of his organizational skills have developed into tools used by many in his professional industry.
On the flip size, I however, have become less and less organized. How does that happen?
Kicking Procrastination to the Curb
My husband usually tends to procrastinate and so do my kids. I was always the one that would do today’s tasks as well as start on tomorrow’s task just to be ahead. I was always BUSY!
Have you found yourself always being busy but you’re not sure what you accomplished?
That was me. I burnt out, my energy fizzled and I took a break. A very long break! I realized that I had become a younger version of my husband. I was putting things off, nothing was getting done, my house was a mess, my goals were not getting met, I began to feel like a failure and decided to stay there.
When Procrastination turns into a Pity Party
Welcome to my great big, old, pity party. Wahoo, have a piece of cake and put on a party hat.
That lasted for almost a year. Overnight my home became an empty nest and I really lost my way. It wasn’t that I didn’t have goals, I just kept putting them off and when I did try to chip away at them, anxiety would overwhelm me. I would put it off again.
Endless cycle, thus I created the black hole for myself and tumbled into the abyss.
I needed to find…. BALANCE.
Have you ever fallen into a black hole? If so, you know how hard it is to find your way out. Little by little, I crawled out, pulled myself together and decided it was time for a change, no matter how my body or mind felt about it.
I realized crawling out of a black hole is a LOT harder than sinking into one. I needed help and maybe you do to.
Mistakes can either Make Us or Break Us
Here’s a few mistakes that I made, that didn’t work. Maybe this will save you some sanity, time, money and frustration. It’s always nice to learn from someone else’s mistakes. : )
- No amount of caffeine can get you out of the black hole. In many cases, it’ll put you further in. Water is what your body and mind needs. A headache is your brain screaming for water.
- Family and friends may be sources of encouragement, but you can not depend on them to pull you out. That isn’t fair to them or you.
- When you put all your expectations for success on other individuals, you tend to lash out at them when you fail. Not good for long term relationships.
- Ideas are just that until you put action to them. Don’t sit around and daydream about pursuing your goal or tell everyone about your dreams. Less talk and more action is the key.
- Distractions are so much easier to get addicted to when you feel overwhelmed and under pressure. Know how to spot them and stop.
- Jealousy and comparison flourish in the black hole. They are your constant companions.
- Fear is the master of the black hole. He loves that you are in neck deep and wallowing in self pity.
- There’s no list or program or step-by-step method that is one-size-fits-all.
There’s no One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Now that you’ve gotten a good look at my mistakes, I’ll give you a few insights into what did work. Remember, there’s really no one-size-fits-all but there’s a world of resources at your fingertips. Never give up searching and trying. If I can get out of the black hole, you can to.
- Be honest with yourself. It kinda sucks but it’s the first step to freedom. Make a list. Be real with yourself. What’s become your daily habits, what are your time-stealers? What’s stealing your health? What’s your distractions?
- Be committed to one positive step a day. Listing your long and short term goals can help. Need a sheet for that : ), see HERE>. Start on the easiest short term goal. For example, my gmail account almost made me hyperventilate every time I opened it. I reevaluated which subscriptions I was reading and unsubscribed from the ones that I never read. I made folders and placed each email I wanted to keep into categories, those to come back to later or those needed to for records. Surprisingly, this only took 2 hours to go through thousands of emails dating back four years. Now, I have a system that I keep updated each day.
- Get organized. I know that’s easier said than done and this is coming from someone that used to live to organize. Again, start small and accomplish little tasks everyday. We cleaned our closets this past weekend, clothes only. Next I’ll go through the selves. It only took a couple of hours. As we were cleaning, I wrote everything in a notebook by category to donate for tax season. Two birds, one stone.
- Get real. This could be lumped into honesty but this needs to pertain to your goals. Are your goals attainable and do you have a plan or are you just daydreaming and wishing? One of my goals is to make a living with my writing. To do that, I needed several things to happen. My blog had to undergo a transformation into a website, I had to sign up for affiliate marketing, grow my email list, learn how to email newsletters, be consistent with my blogging and emailing. I’m not 100% there, but I’ve made it through several of the steps and will continue to. Having a monthly and weekly blog schedule really helps. I have one of those HERE>.
- Change your words. Positive speaking has been scientifically proven to have miraculous effects. If you’re a believer and Christian as I am, then you are no stranger to the power of words. Prayer is amazing. Prayer does what all the earth’s greatest warriors and weapons can not. It moves mountains. My best prayer is, “Lord, you gotta show up and help me today.” Words are also seeds of faith. Speak out what you want to see happen not what you see happening. Need some help with being brave? See HERE>.
- Change your thoughts. Your thought life can either destroy you or promote you. If you grew up in a home where people spoke negative or hurtful things over you, you will struggle with this. But the good news is, the more you speak right, the more you’ll think right. Gates are so important on farms, for communities, in jails… you get my drift. We like gates. Gates keep things/people in and gates keep things/people out. You have gates. Your eyes and your ears. Stop being passive on what you allow in and out. What if our penal system was like that? Criminals could go and come as they please. The world would be even more chaotic. Remember the elementary song? “Oh, be careful little ears what you hear, Oh be careful little eyes what you see?”
- Realize that it’s not TOO LATE. Regret is one of the demon thieves of joy and peace. There’s not one thing, one mistake, one season that God can not use or replace in your life with something better. In the last eight months, I’ve learned so much in suffering. Looking back, I believe going through this black hole season has been more beneficial than if I had overnight success. Maybe I wasn’t safe for success. I’d rather suffer for transformation’s sake than to suffer for losing my way. It’s not too late for you. Today is a new day and tomorrow offers a new start.
[bctt tweet=”One of my favorite quotes is: “Start where you are, Do what you can, Use what you have.”” username=”ceajones”]
The thing about black holes is that it forces you to seek light. I love that. Your black hole of nothingness and despair can be the bridge to your best life ever. I know it’s going to be mine.
For bloggers you need the following. Weekly Blog Schedule.
If you’re having trouble with what should you blog about, then you need a theme organizer or editorial calendar. You can take a look at mine HERE>.
Themes are much better for me. My themes are as follows: 1st Wednesday – Branding and Marketing; 2nd Wednesday – Blogging, Tech & Organizing 101; 3rd Wednesday – Tea Time & Health for Writers; 3rd Wednesday – Southern Living & Monthly Reads; and 5th Wednesday – Author Interviews.
If you’re using WordPress.org, the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin is a valuable tool. It allows you to see your posts by date on a calendar and you are also able to change them by dragging posts to other dates.
Here’s a list of helpful books on Blogging:
Maybe you need a little more help. I’ve created a survey with you in mind. Tell me how I can do a better job to help you. It’s only 10 questions, most are multiple choice.
If you are living in the Fairhope or Mobile, Alabama area and want to have some hands on training in regards to Blogging for Writers, I’ll be teaching a fall class this semester. For more information you can take a look at the ESILL (Eastern Shore Institute for Lifelong Learning). Classes will be posted early August, but if you’re interested, please email me. My class will be limited to 15 participants.
Also published on Medium.