BEING ORGANIZED DOES NOT MEAN BEING RIGID, INFLEXIBLE, enduring LOSS OF FUN, or having a LACK OF SPONTANEITY. Recognize that when we have completed what we have scheduled, then we are DONE, FREE, UNENCUMBERED!
Write EVERYTHING down in a specific spot. Severely limit how many (i.e. keep it to one or two) places you have to look for things in order to organize oneself.
We are adults. We can set your own standards, our own rewards and our own punishments. (We do not have to be perfect, just conscientious and persistent.)
We do not have to do anything the way that we were taught or even the way that we had been doing them. (Stick with a method long enough to see if it works for us. If the method is not working for us, then change and move on.)
It is not enough to make a “To-Do” list. Put items on our calendars with a specific start date and start time and finish date and finish time. (Previous failures, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and procrastination all severely distort our abilities to estimate time and effort accurately.)
There is a tension between being reasonable with giving ourselves enough time to complete a step or a task versus pushing ourselves to get things done. (Many, many small and big projects get started, advanced, and completed with a few minutes here and there tossed in.)
Outsource tasks which never interested us, we are not good at performing, we are not interested in learning how to perform (or improving our performance), are associated with terrible / traumatic memories, are one-time projects which require special tools and skills, or tasks and projects that have too urgent of a deadline.
ON THE SAME PAPER OR ELECTRONIC SCHEDULE, schedule in you sleep, meal times, breaks, exercise, meditation, fun times, etc. (Once we get into a rhythm or routine, we will have to look at our calendars much, much less.)
Also, organize our calendars according to physical geography so, when possible, the flow of our days and our tasks lead to the next task.
If we finish a task early (or reach a planned stopping point), then DO NOT CONTINUE WORKING ON THAT TASK! Give ourselves an unexpected break, then start our next scheduled task, on time, and refreshed.
Force ourselves to not be perfect (at least with the first iterations), then contemplate how this lack of perfection feels…what kind of negative or racing thoughts does this lack of perfection generate? Search for uncomfortable physical symptoms…where in the body do we sense them, how intensely, etc.
Lack of perfection looks like this… get that first draft done (even if you will keep only 40% of the material from the final draft); collect all your shoes from around the house and throw them in the closet (even if the closet is not yet organized); mow that lawn (even if you are not able to bag the clippings or finish the edging). Getting started/ finishing one round of a project, really restricts the universe of possibilities, and quells the, “what ifs”, the “I can’ts”, that overwhelm us all.
Charles Tadros, M.D.
January 22, 2022
Saint Louis, Missouri