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Posts Tagged ‘Organization’

Okay, got it.  I’m going to turn the hell mouth that is my basement into a pleasant, creative, fun, happy space for my kids on a budget of zero $.  Currently it’s a disaster zone of toys, art kits and supplies, trains and stuff.  The Huz moved the kid items out of the “art” room in the basement to create a Man Cave.  Said items do not have a home and look sad laying around in piles.  I will organize them and make pretty.  Huz hung art work, for which I’m grateful, but it’s still awfully bare down there.  Here’s some photos to view the BEFORE scene.  Clearly something must be done, stat!

The Hell Mouth

The “art” area
The art on the walls barely disguises the chaos. Barely.
My kids transform most places into “beds”

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It’s that time again.  Time to look back over my February resolution and see how I did.

The goal was to address my ADD.  Here is what my plans entailed:

  • Read some books and articles recommended to me by a psychologist who specializes in ADD –  CHECK!  I’m still reading So I’m Not Lazy . . . and it’s very insightful. I researched several online articles and read photocopied articles given to me by a psychologist.  I will continue to read and research as needed.
  • Visit my general practitioner to discuss my evaluation and possible drug therapy – CHECK!  Tried Adderall and hated it.  Now trying Vyvanse.  It does help me follow through with tasks rather than getting interrupted and diverted and my stress level has markedly gone down.
  • Implement some organizational strategies in my home (which may entail a trip to IKEA!) – Still working on this.  My handyman has gone AWOL so I haven’t installed any of the hooks that I’ve bought and I still need to meet with my mother figures to go over storage and clutter-reduction ideas.  IKEA is still in the future, but I need to budget for it.  I haven’t given up on this goal, but it’s taking longer than planned.
  • Develop some coping tools – KINDA CHECK.  I am gentler with myself, I catch myself from exploding with my kids and am more patient, I assess what I need in stressful situations and ask for support, I’m using my phone to schedule and alert me, and I’m writing lists and remembering to bring them on errands.  Since I haven’t met with an ADD coach, I’m not sure what other tools could be useful, but I do know I am open to filling my virtual tool chest.
  • Maybe even have a consultation with a professional organizer – NO.  I can’t afford this, but would enjoy it.
  • Map out a weekday schedule – CHECK!  I do this on Monday mornings.  This week I am relying more on my phone, but I’m looking at my day before I get started.  The result: I feel more in control and happy.
  • Don’t feel like a loser by bedtime – CHECK!!  My self-esteem really has improved.  I feel calmer despite a month of craziness in front of me.

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I’m not sure why this is just hitting me now, especially when I have had moments of clarity in my past.  I guess I never learned.  I over-commit.  This is a trait of the ADD adult.  According to Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo of  You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy? ADD adults have a terrible time finding balance in their lives, much like alcoholics.  Similarly, we feel out of control.  They say we take on more than we can do because we fear the boredom of routine.  Check!  I have balked at scheduling my life in any way up until this year.  I can’t do it anymore.  I have two kids.  That’s four schedules in our household and I am the schedule-keeper.  So when I volunteer to serve on the PTA board, I know it’s crazy but I do it anyway because I believe in the cause.  And when I open my mouth to create a new fundraiser – a read-a-thon – I know I’m crazy because it requires organizing both materials and people.  At least I found a wonderful co-chair who is detail-oriented.  The balance between our working relationship is what is keeping me sane through this process.  If my life were just harried because of the fundraiser next month, I would have enough balance in my schedule to not feel overwhelmed.  Let me share with you the reality of the situation:

  1. First week of the month: two doctor visits, a talent show rehearsal and actual talent show (my daughter).
  2. Second week: dinner fundraiser at son’s school, my last MFA packet of the semester is due, dentist (daughter), field trip chaperone (son), major rehearsals begin for ballet performance (daughter), daughter’s first slumber party (not my house, yay!)
  3. Third week: (This is where it gets really fun) My husband is out of town, end of fundraiser–volunteer at school one morning and one full day (daughter), 3-hour ballet rehearsal.
  4. Fourth week: Book club, children’s consignment sale (I’m a vendor so I must price clothes, drop off clothes, shop for kids’ spring-summer wardrobes, pick up clothes that don’t sell/donate), 2-hr. ballet rehearsal (Thursday), 4-hr. ballet rehearsal/leave school early (Friday), ballet performance (Saturday night), ballet performance (Sunday matinee).
  5. Fifth week: (wait, there’s five weeks this month?) Piano recital (day after ballet performance) and nothing else (really?).

I remember my friend Michelle once told me the most important word she ever learned was “no.”  I need to practice saying no.  Kelly and Ramundo recommend making a weekly calendar.  Check again!  But they also suggest that you take into account “an accumulation of demands on your capacity for work and stress.”  Be realistic.  How much stress can you handle?  When you write out a schedule, make sure you write in transition time and give a little extra time for unexpected delays.  I have done this for two weeks now and it does help.  I can be very flexible and move things around so I don’t stress when I can’t get the laundry put away on Tuesday.  It will happen Wednesday after the kids go to bed.  No biggie.

Another nod to Kelly and Ramundo: figure out your strengths and weaknesses.  What can you do well and not-so well?  This will help you prioritize.  What are your should-dos and must-dos?  After the analysis, “slice and dice” your schedule.  I’m going to read over the chapter more carefully and see what I can actually use and apply to my own craziness.  I can’t imagine juggling all of this and working full-time.  Props to my friends who do it all.

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Got the medication and tried it today.  Drumroll . . . I am pretty darn pleased.  No racing heartbeat.  No speeding train in my brain.  No jitters.  I actually felt, what’s the word, calm.  This afternoon I was able to help my daughter organize her routine: piano practice, homework, then a craft.  What’s even better, I never got frustrated with her or with my son’s constant interruptions.  Calm.  Earlier this morning, I had precisely one hour to write and guess what?  I wrote.  I didn’t surf Facebook nor check email, except to refer to a pdf document that an administrator in my graduate program sent me, and it was related to what I was writing.

I could get used to this.

In the mean time, my buddy Liz sent me a fascinating article on ADD and creativity from The Wall Street Journal.  Enjoy!

Bother Me, I’m Thinking

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I swear I had no idea that Gretchen Rubin had this resolution idea before me! I just began reading Rubin’s book The Happiness Project for my book club. Having seen the book advertised in lightweight mags like Woman’s Day, I really didn’t think too much about it, and frankly dismissed it as chick lit. Then my husband heard Rubin interviewed on NPR right around New Year’s and told me I should check it out, that she her project greatly resembled my blog. My book club finally got its list together for the next couple of months and Rubin was at the forefront — we discuss it in a week — so, I gave in and bought a used copy. Frankly, the book is very pleasant reading. It is well-researched, citing quotes and studies from Aristotle to Malcolm Gladwell and the Dalai Lama to the Unclutterer blog. Plus, Rubin’s voice is humble, confessional without TMI, and witty. I feel like I’d enjoy having a cup of coffee with her. Rubin’s 12-month project is WAY more in-depth than mine. Yes, like me she has devoted one month to a resolution, but where I have divided my resolutions into four categories (mind, body, spirit and creativity), she has twelve categories and each category (or month) has three or four resolutions attached to them. She also likes lists. For instance there’s her Twelve Commandments list and her Secrets of Adulthood list. It’s quippy, but not overly cutesy or self-conscious so I don’t mind.

Last night – well, really this morning, around 4:30 – I had a strange case of insomnia, so I got comfortable on the couch and started reading The Happiness Project in earnest. Ironically, I read about getting more sleep being a key to accomplishing more and overall happiness. One of Rubin’s Twelve Commandments (and she doesn’t harp on this — it’s really just one page) is “Do It Now.” So, at 5:00 a.m. I set out to find my daughter’s homework buried in her backpack, trim the hair that I felt my stylist missed during our afternoon appointment, and jot down a note to buy that wedding gift I’ve had hanging over me from October. Wow, in a half hour at an ungodly time of the morning Rubin motivated me to erase a few nagging worries off of my mental list.

While I am no Gretchen Rubin and my own resolutions are modest in comparison, I think The Happiness Project will help me in my quest for more time, more organization, and more balance. More happiness, yes. My first goal towards this forward movement with all of my resolutions is to get up forty-five minutes earlier during the week.

Here’s a link to Rubin’s web page: http://www.happiness-project.com/

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Decluttering My Way To Happiness | Seventh Generation.

This plopped in my email and seemed relavent.

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