By Tracy, Managing Editor
Organization hasn’t always been my strong suit, but I always managed to get things done. I created systems when I was in college. My planner was my best friend when it came to scheduling time to do work plus writing down key dates when big assignments were due. In grad school, the same systems were done and I did well. And then I got a full time teaching gig, and my ability to organize began to plummet down the tube. I still did pretty alright, remembered most of what I needed to get done, and went to sleep with a notebook next to the bed so that if I had a thought in the middle of the night, it would get written down.
And then life happened. We bought a house, got married (in that order), got pregnant (hello pregnancy brain), had baby girl, the end.
Well really, the end of me keeping track of things ended once I returned to work. I was great at all things home and family while on maternity leave. And the fact that Abby loved to be worn while I cooked and cleaned and she adored watching me doing laundry as she sat in her bouncy chair. I got shit done and remembered most of it.
Then work happened. I thought my Type A personality would come back in full swing since I had a lot to manage. Instead, my Type A personality led me down a path of anxiety, where part of my brain wanted to control everything, and the other part couldn’t remember all that needed to be in control.
About a month ago while driving home, which is the place a lot of great thoughts are had, I realized how much easier life would be if I had a personal assistant. Someone to tell me about appointments and meetings, and really someone to schedule them. Someone to tell me that I need to get some curriculum planning done and/or grading. Someone to help me tidy up my classroom at the end of the day. Someone to write lists, and keep track of those lists. Someone to remind me that I put laundry in the washer. Someone to pack a lunch for me. Someone to remind me to pay my bills. (I’ve accrued late fees recently, not because I didn’t have the money to pay said bills, but because I kept putting it off.) Someone to remind me to get enough sleep. I need a little help from someone.
Currently the method to my madness is with sticky notes and random thoughts written on my hand. And the latter, I really need to stop doing, because Abby now has begun to write on her hand, just like mommy. Sigh.
The thing with post-its is that I lose them and/or because there are so many affixed to my work computer screen, they’ve just become part of my environment, only glanced over and quickly forgotten about. As the school year started, I tried to get out of this habit with the purchase of small notebooks, but I just forget to use them. I do have one composition book for school meetings and such, and I do write down all the work I need to get done over the weekend in it. But of course it stays in my bag for most of the weekend until Sunday rolls around and I freak out about it all.
In addition, my classroom is a mess. I keep buying organizational tools like binders and trays to put and organize work in, but alas, I haven’t made time to create a system so I just pile things up, and forget. Guess who had to have several reminders to turn in her signed teacher contract? Yep, that was me.
And on the home front, I just pile things on top of things and tuck those piles away, forgetting about important bills or phone calls that need to be made.
Really, I’m at a loss. I need help. I thought with the purchase of my iPhone, that I would have some fun new tools to help me. I’ve tried creating lists with the notes app, but forget to look at them. I set up reminders on the calendar to remind myself to do things, but I forget to look at my phone.
The one saving grace that I have is that Pinterest has helped me with meal planning. That I’ve got down. I pin new meals to try, and meal plan before going grocery shopping, and when I forget an amount of an item I need to purchase, I have the app to help me quickly look up a recipe.
Other than that, I’m at a huge loss. I could use some advice. How do you stay organized? How do you remember to do things? What systems do you have in place in your home?
One thing I would love to try, since we all know I don’t have it in my budget to afford a personal assistant, is this whole momAgenda thing. BA, a fellow working momma, raves about it. But alas, with the holidays coming up, and trying to do better with money via creating a budget and adding to creating an emergency fund for our family, I can’t bring myself to purchase one. But man, do I think that momAgenda could save the day for me.
And then I had a light bulb moment. Two words. Social Media. It’s a powerful force, helping to spread the word of those in need. Yes, my need is trite in relation to so many other problems this world faces, but I thought I couldn’t hurt to ask you to help me get the attention of momAgenda by tweeting the following:
I think that @wa_tracy frm @LiberatingWM could use some @momAgenda help 2 organize a crazy busy #workingmom life http://bit.ly/nN3vDP Pls RT
What do you think? Want to help me out? And in the meantime, all sorts of advice will be gladly taken.