Falling Upwards

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i am the girl of a hundred lists December 9, 2009

The other night, when I was hanging out with my gal pals, one of them mentioned that she was just now coming out of the hole she’d dug. She is finally settling down into her new home, built after the old one was lost in a wildfire two years ago. She meant that she is now ready to see people, entertain and stop being reclusive. And… that her hole was a self-made one.

Her words were visually appealing to me, especially since I realized only very recently myself that I’ve been in a hole (for nearly a year) and am finally pulling myself out of the darkness and into the blessed fresh air and light. When you’re in a hole, every days things can get.. forgotten. Things pile up, and you can imagine why and how.

This past weekend, I was in the light long enough to realize that I want — I need — order in my life. I’ve read time management books in the past, have tried different methods, to be more organized so that I’m not mired in a pit of endless things weighing in the back of my mind. I think was able to accomplish that this week.

My fall back time management device is the Franklin Planner System. I started using it long before it was acquired by Covey, and it’s based on Benjamin Franklin’s notebooks.

The system is simple.
Write a daily task list of all the things that need to be done.
Prioritize them by marking each task with “A”s, “B”s and “C”s — the A’s being most important.
Then, prioritize those in order of what needs to be done — 1, 2, 3, etc.
Simply do the tasks in order.

As you complete a task, cross the item off. If a task needs to be done later, because of follow-up or what-have-you, “forward” that task the to correct future date (tomorrow, next week, next month, you get the idea).

My challenge is to make sense of the multiple roles I play: as property manager, as mom, as artist and as my own woman. Franklin Covey has awesome tabs you can get for your planner and which you can mark for your separate roles. But since I work from home and can be flexible with how I use my time, it’s helpful for me to have everything written on one page, split into the different “categories.”

I started this on Monday, with a bit of pre-planning on Sunday. I got everything on my task lists crossed off or forwarded … before noon!

It is unbelievable how free I felt. My mind had no clutter, no worries (since everything I was thinking about had already been written down into one date or another as a task)… just …
well, let’s just say that not only did I have a feeling of accomplishment, I also had enough time to work a bit on my art, try out some new ideas, and just sit on the couch with the puppy (an excellent form of meditation).

It’s too soon to be a habit, and yeah, tasks lists are endless (like dishes…ugh). But, if I can remember that feeling of freedom and appreciate the “found” time, then I know I’ll be super-focused as I make these lists and complete these tasks. Because then, there’ll be time and space to dream, and create, and play and…. the possibilities are endless.

Lost Time by Rabindranath Tagore
On many an idle day have I grieved over lost time.
But it is never lost, my lord.
Thou hast taken every moment of my life in thine own hands.

Hidden in the heart of things thou art nourishing seeds into sprouts,
buds into blossoms, and ripening flowers into fruitfulness.

I was tired and sleeping on my idle bed
and imagined all work had ceased.
In the morning I woke up
and found my garden full with wonders of flowers.