“You’d lose your head if it weren’t attached.” My father issued that prediction often in my childhood. I do struggle to keep my time, possessions and commitments organized. I could take a leisurely cruise to the Bahamas with the time I’ve spent looking for things over the course of my life.
When I am organized I thrive. Sadly, such situations seem to be fleeting moments. I pause to put papers in files and things back where they belong. I make lists of things to do, post notes and set reminders on the phone calendar. None-the-less, sustaining an organized life keeps eluding me.
Modern Factors Compete with Staying Organized
I conclude there are several modern life realities that contribute to this struggle to get and stay organized. First, most of us have too much stuff. We fill our living spaces with things we really don’t need and probably didn’t even really want all that badly. There they are anyway – competing for space on counters, in drawers and closets. Things hog space on tables and shelves. I secretly cringe when people give me some thing as a gift. I appreciate the thought, but where am I going to put it? Things seem to flow into the house faster than I can haul trunk loads of other things out to various resell and donation centers.
Next, I get more invitations and pleas to get involved than I can reasonably accept. I can make a list of ten causes I think I ought to do something about before I finish the first cup of coffee and the morning news. Today we are exposed to issues and needs around the globe at any hour of every day. If I respond, which I often feel pulled to do, I end up on another e-mail or mailing list that generates regular pleas for my time and money. Some of these are truly heart-wrenching situations.
Everything Takes Longer to Complete
Finally, everything – I mean absolutely EVERYTHING – seems to take longer than it used to take. I used to conduct a fair amount of the details of daily life by talking to real human beings, either in their shop or office or on the phone. After a few exchanges of social pleasantries we’d get down to the task at hand. Whatever the issue was, it was usually quickly resolved, plus we were caught up with one another’s news.
Today I am forced to do most of these things on the Internet. Inevitably this means I have to log in or set up an account. I have to recall what blasted user name and password this site wants from me. I have to negotiate their version of customer service. This usually takes approximately five times longer than just talking to someone on the phone.
Some days I add to the challenge by foolishly trying to find a phone number for the place. Should I manage to find one, I have to interact with some computerized phone system that exists for the sole purpose of making sure I never, ever reach a real live person. After such exercises in frustration and futility I spend more time taking a mental health break to calm down. This requires wandering around the kitchen in search of comfort food or taking out my aggressions on weeds or going for a long walk. Phone calls were much faster and effective. I miss them.
What Happened to Social Interactions?
We’ve let simplicity and face-to-face social interactions slip away in our quest for constant, instant interactions with people known and unknown, near and far. Days of combining human pleasantries with daily business are gone for most of us.
None of this helps me get more organized; but I feel a little less scatter-brained realizing some of the contributing factors are not of my own making.
I was looking for something this morning that I couldn’t find. That inspired this blog. However, I did find the beautiful Smithsonian 2018 calendar I received in exchange for responding to their many pleas for financial assistance. The calendar is now on my desk so I can jot down notes about things to do. When I need a mental health pause I will admire the beautiful artwork in the calendar.
I am already feeling more organized. I’m ready to take on whatever 2018 sends my way.
How do you stay ahead of the organizational curve? I’d love to hear your suggestions.