Saturday, 20 June 2015

Organisation Vs Regimentation

I am by nature a list maker.

This is partly because my memory is red hot on things like Red Dwarf dialogue and complex retellings of that time your friend put porn on your DVD player after we watched the Grand Final and then that guy climbed over the back fence with a plank of wood to tell us to shut the fuck up because he had work the next day... [huge breath] but not so much on remembering to go to shops when they're open.

So I need to write stuff down and set days aside for getting certain stuff done.

This is organisation.

What I am resisting with all my might is letting that turn into regimentation.

I have a coworker who routinely says things like 'my friend invited me out to dinner but I couldn't go because I do the laundry on Wednesdays'.

This lady isn't OCD or otherwise compelled by brain chemistry, she has just slowly over a period of decades settled into her groove and is now incapable of clambering out of it.

She will turn down trips, outings, exciting opportunities because she needs to get home to feed the horses, or to organise something or because she already had a plan for that day.

The plan in question is never particularly exciting, she is just incapable of changing or postponing it.

There are definitely some pre-planned tasks or events where you have to blow off exciting new opportunities but these are things like baptisms, weddings, funerals, a farewell party for someone you care about, not being able to go have an author you admire sign your book because you're going to be in another country, that sort of thing.

Any time I catch myself letting everyday stuff get on top of me or feeling too negative about unimportant shit I just bump a few things further along the list or have a completely self-indulgent 'stuff it!' day where I just push anything that isn't absolutely essential out of my mind and read or have a nap or even just clean the bathroom.

Being organised has been even more important to me since I had my argh-what-the-fark-is-happening-to-me-argh! meltdown, got my Fibromyalgia diagnosis, and began putting my head back on straight.

While I'm actually feeling pretty good now, I still have to keep in mind that I can't do too much at once* without courting the possibility of feeling a bit achey for a week afterwards, so spreading out tasks and obligations not only makes me feel on top of things but keeps me on an even keel.

Crossing stuff out on a list gives me that lovely 'aw yeah, getting shit done like a motherhuggin' adult' satisfaction and keeps me from falling into the 'I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it tomorrow, I'll do it on the weekend, crap it's Monday' trap.

I've read a few articles about organisation and building good habits along the way and picking the good ideas (like picking one habit to work on at a time and 'habit stacking') from the bad ideas (like systems of recordkeeping which would lead to your life becoming a nonstop loop of note taking and note comparing**) has been important.

If you're already an anxious person you certainly don't want to be tracking and comparing certain things*** unless you can do it in a way that helps you make progress and feel in control rather than stressing you out and making the problem worse.

You don't want to feel like you've failed because you've assigned yourself too many tasks in a fit of ambition and you certainly don't want to make your hobbies and recreational activities and relationships feel like obligations you're failing to meet.

That kind of thing isn't going to help anybody.

I certainly remember how uninspiring I found the Wii Fit's 'oh, hey there, we haven't seen you in 47 days' passive-aggressive bulltwang.

So, to summarise:

Having my shit together and having errands and regular chores mapped out = good.

Being able to to toss most of that stuff aside every now and then because someone has invited me to a concert, I've heard about something awesome, or because I'm really enjoying a book = even better.

*For example,  vacuuming the bedroom = fine.Vacuuming the bedroom, then deciding I'm going to sweep and mop and scrub the bathroom as well all in one afternoon = one of my knees quietly moaning 'I thought you looooooved' me for a week and a half afterwards.

**I'm looking at you, people at my workplace who take calorie counting too seriously and have stopped enjoying life.

***Like how much sleep you get per night.

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