I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back to Basics

It seems like I've not devoted too much of my blogging time this month to my official topic - that of coping when one has a very full life. So I thought it best if I bring that topic back to the fore for a minute or two. Today's topic is all about going back to basics as a coping mechanism.

My world is overwhelmed with noise. Noise in the literal sense, and noise in the mechanical sense. Everyone always seems to be talking, computers are beeping, I've got too many mobile and facebook and whatever else distractions, and stuff is just constantly happening in my life. I've already told you how the best way I know to deal with this is the micro mini vay-kay. On a more minute-to-minute basis, I resort to the basics. Today's basic lesson: Don't underestimate the power of a paper and pen.

I always have paper and pen handy - ALWAYS. Which means that when I get reminders to do something from someone else, or I need to write down a phone number, or I do a 'mental note' - I make it a REAL note. In my handbag I've got a little spiral notebook and a selection of pens and pencils. Nothing fancy. Not only does it serve as my constant reminder list, my shopping list, and my "wait, what was I supposed to do this week?" paper, it's also entertainment. Stuck in a long line with the kids? Ask them to draw a picture, play hangman, tic-tac-toe, or play the scribble game. You would be surprised how easily kids can get distracted with paper and pen.

In my notebook I'll write - ideas of blog posts. Phone numbers I've seen on trucks for tradesmen I think I might need. Reminders of what I wanted to buy at the shops, who I meant to call, whatever. I might even write down something funny I heard on the radio, or a good quote I see on a blog somewhere.

The key to this working for you is also knowing how to edit and reference. So if you're writing down miles and miles of just 'stuff' and never taking the time to read it... all you're doing is cluttering your life up. So every other day or so, I'll pull out my spiral book and read what I've written. I might move the phone number I jotted down to my mobile, or send myself an email with a web address I wanted to check out. Mostly, I either use the information I've got written down, or I decide I no longer need it. AND THEN - brace yourselves - I THROW OUT (okay, recycle) the piece of paper. The beauty of spiral notebooks is the noise they make when you rrriiippp out a page. Very satisfying. That way, too, I don't have to sift past loads of useless pages to find the most relevant information to me.

You would be amazed at the things which I've completely forgotten ten seconds after I wrote a mental note, but so too amazed at what I've remembered just because I jotted down a word or two to act as a reminder to my brain.

So sometimes - telling the computer, the laptop, the PDA and the mobile phone to take a hike - is the best way to actually manage your life. Return to basics. Make your life EASIER. If it takes 5 minutes to work out how to get to the right app in your iPhone, that's five minutes too long. It would take less than 5 seconds to use the pen-and-paper app. Try it. Go write yourself a note to buy a spiral notebook. (And in it, remind yourself to comment on this post about how much easier it is to remember stuff.)


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I too have a "master list" in a big notebook.

It has my constant to-do list - items are added eg call the plumber - ph 9867 2648, book a hair-cut ph 9645 9725 , return swimming form by Friday 22nd. Completed items are crossed off. It lives in the Kitchen and everyone can consult it - but it is my daily reminder of what has to get done.

Our family has an A5 notebook for a constant shopping list - everyone knows where it lives, and items get added by everyone. Sometimes this means that "Star Wars" is added to the list ;-). It is quite handy to have the old lists to flick through, they prompt you to remember things to add.

Lastly, I have a small notebook in my handbag which serves the same purpose as your Em.

Jewel said...

I don't necessarily use a spiral notebook, but definitely keep a book to jot down mental notes and lists going. I like the satisfaction of crossing off finished tasks ... ooo it is always such a good feeling. It is my way of surviving and in particular I find it very handy to refer to it at the end of the day to refresh, prepare, plan and then switch off for a good night's rest.

On another note, we are starting to talk about coming home... and on the new list of things to do when back in melbourne is definitely to give you a big hug and catch up as much as possible. XO

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

...and this is why I have both of you as friends in real life. You're as fabulous and wonderful and dorky as I am. YAY for list making!!