Organization: The Science of Optimism

I love organization books and tips.

When my children were babies and I was dogpaddling in a sea of dirty laundry, I happened on an organization book by Pam Young and Peggy Jones called Sidetracked Home Executives. The sister authors recommended an index card system of chore scheduling and you know how much I love index cards.

But eventually, I grew into other organization books. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was my bible for a while. His focus is on determining the relative importance of each task in the greater scheme of your life. If your life’s dream to juggle porcupines you will prioritize for practicing that skill over, say, washing the bugs out of your kitchen light fixture.

Then I stumbled on Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Allen’s philosophy of listing every single thing you want and need to do in your life is another way to decipher what is important to you. It’s a good way to de-clutter your brain. A bit like Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Although you don’t end up with a satisfying collection of eleven bulging boxes of goods to unload at your local Goodwill at the end of the session.

So I was delighted to happen on Anna Carrasco Bowling’s June 28th blog entry.

In it Bowling describes how she organizes her daily goals. She color codes the items in large groups. Essentials and big ongoing projects like editing or drafting different manuscripts each have their own color.

But what I love most is the category Bowling calls Problem Solving. She defines it as “anything I need to do before I could get down to business, or could affect my ability to write that day.” What is so brilliant about this, is the idea of scheduling time to think.

We all schedule our time, but what gets written on our lists are physical activities. There is a time for cooking, for cleaning, for writing, for bill paying, even for play.

Rarely do we block out time on our calendars for thought.

We should. Because thinking is the hardest part of our work. And the easiest to avoid.

So next time I write a to do list, I’m pulling out my colored pens and focusing on what’s most important in my day. Problem Solving.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. Wednesday is generally book review day. Unless it isn’t. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.