The Modern Emily Post

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with distinct pleasure that I announce I am 1 final exam away from finally being qualified to tell you what to do;organization wise. Now, now, I know you’re not as excited as I am. But I want you to know, you’re on the ground floor of what could be a very good thing. In all the text books I’ve been consuming, one thing stuck out: There is no organizational expert for the modern maiden, or man. With chapters dedicated to video cassette organization and paper catalogues, I think I’ve struck upon my niche. Or perhaps, it’s struck upon me. I will be able to create streamlined systems for the tech we have and the clouds we depend on. I will also be capable of parring down your clutter and building new habits and routines. Which will save you time, energy and lead you toward living the life you want. So, as I sit down to take the test that will seal my organizational fate, I’m revved up and ready to become the Modern Emily Post. And I will Post, right here;)

The Modern Emily Post

Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye!

So, hey, how’s it goin? It’s been a while. You’re looking well. Okay, now that we’ve dispensed with the pleasantries, we can get down to serious business. About 3 years ago I started blogging. I would sit down daily and write my musings. All the things I wished I could teach the world. Sadly, I didn’t have the ‘expertise’ to really influence change in anyone. Well, that’s about to change. I am training to become a professional organizer and etiquette expert. TADA! Didn’t know there was such a thing did’jah? Huh? Well, there is and I’m about to become one.

When I started this little bloggidy blog, I called myself Melicious Manners. Melicious was a clever nickname, which I’ve always loved, cuz it looks like delicious but sounds devious. The Manners part came later. I modeled myself after Miss Manners, a helpful non-digital blog, created to help Sally-House-Wife with all those tight spots and tough messes. I had unknowingly branded myself as the modern day Emily Post. And apparently that’s just what the world needed.

So, where does that bring us? Oh right, very, very soon I’m gonna be able to boss you around like a good big sister does. Okay, maybe not boss you around, but give you hints on how to live a nicer life. Hopefully, one free of dramatics and miscommunications. I’ll be able to help you get on track so you have more free time. And I’ll do it all with that special Melicious Manners flare we’ve all come to love, or at least read. So, please join me on this sweet journey, it’s gonna be Mmmmmelicious.

Prepare Ye! Prepare Ye!

Organizational Therapy

Somedays are better than others, we all know that. Then there are days the room starts spinning. You’ve forgotten what you wanted to say, what you came in the room for and why you’re holding that whisk in the bathroom. Every time I think I’ve finished something, I discover, I’m wrong. My life puzzle is suddenly 750 pieces of cloudless sky. You know that feeling. When the whole wide world feels like it’s out of your control. And you know what, it is. The only thing left to do is scream.

So, how should we deal with these days, especially when they’re a million light years from being over? My favorite answer is to the question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. Though life can feel like 20 lbs of anarchy in a 5 lbs bag; we have control of which baggage we carry with us.

So, let’s dump out this bag and repack. In the pile I can immediately eliminate non-pressure cooker items, slating them for another lazy day when I have a free hand, a free hour and a free-wheeling spirit. I take it, shelve it and move forward. That’s 6 lbs lost. As long as I remember they’re still waiting.

Then I sort into 3 piles- Now, near and nearly. The now items are tasks that take 10 mins or less. Those emails I haven’t returned, the payments I’ve postponed and mini-admin stuff. Once I’ve finished that I have an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. 3.5lbs lost!

I ride this high into the near pile. A group of tasks that usually take longer than I expect them to, but are still necessary. These list items are stubborn, but only I can complete them. Which is great, cuz everything I need is somewhere within my grasp. So, I take a breath and battle on. Distractions are most threatening at this point- you should avoid FB, email and every other non-task oriented interruption…except this blog of course. 7lbs lost!

The nearly pile is trickiest. These tasks usually require others. Their participation, information or attention. Cuz as much as I would love to diagnose myself, I think a doctor’s input is helpful…especially since Google seems to be an overreactive hypochondriac- predicting the worst possible outcome for what turns out to be a stubbed toe. Or cleaning out that dank storage unit. Simply planning when to execute these group tasks will lighten your load. Even though you might not complete this list, having it started will lighten your load. Another 2.75lbs lost.

Now, that wasn’t so hard was it? We’ve lost 19.25! And I might go as far as saying its not lost, it’s gained in mental health. And your baggage is much lighter, just in time to start filling it up again. This time though let’s try and keep it to the maximum weight restrictions, it is after all only a 5lbs bag:)

Organizational Therapy

The Starving Artist: Chapter 25: The Master’s List of Lists

The list is one of my favourite tools. I use it for organization, motivation, inspiration and to stave off boredom. The numbers running down the page imply importance. A countdown list, building up to impending launch. Some lists aren’t chronological, they’re simply a train of thought. A google-mapped list of logical steps towards the desired outcome. As for bullet lists, I find them challenging, attempting to tackle them at random without guidance. All in pursuit the much coveted stroke through, check mark or partial task completion revision. It’s cathartic. And I like cats

I have a list for everything. I make lists at work, for this blog and for fun. Writing down each idea as it comes to me. Lists have kept me as sane as I am, which may not speak so highly of lists, but my near-sanity is not entirely their fault. My life is a list of lists. My calendar is laid out as a list. Each event lined up with periodic alerts for upcoming special occasions. This little shift in viewing preferences has helped me be a better wifey, daughter and friend. It’s always ready to remind forgetful Melicious to be in front of the eight ball. Sending cards, FB notifications and attending parties with bells on. I have never had much to organize, though now it seems I am re-booting, relaunching and installing my latest updates endlessly. These life lists just keep getting longer.

Oh, and let us not forget the Bucket List. I have trouble with this one. For a long time it wasn’t a concrete list, just a series of blurry images that look like fun. Since BFF is a chronic list maker (she likes to quantify: First, second and third choices) I was assigned the Bucket List as homework. It took me days to compose. And that list keeps adding 2 items for every 1 completed. It may never be finished. There will never be an end to the list of things I want to do before I can no longer do things. This is the only time I’ll have to do them…right?

Your list can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. It’s up to you. But I tell you, there is nothing better than the feeling of beating the list and the clock, even if only partially. If we were being honest; I would admit I have added list items that were already completed just to check them off. But half of the fun is making the list. Learning what you think you need and feeling satisfied when it’s all checked off and done. The crumple & toss being the apex of list completion. The list is covered in scribbles, X’s and amendments, then there’s a wave of accomplishment. So, whether your list is an artistic road map, all your hopes, wish and dreams or itemized groceries; pat yourself on the back for being organized enough to write it down and determined enough to do it. Even if it is only one of many.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 25: The Master’s List of Lists

The Starving Artist: Chapter 20: The Art of Organization

Last evening marked my graduation from level 2 Ukeology. A course I have been taking to polish up my strumming skills. As the class finished I approached my favourite teacher and asked if she would like to celebrate with a drink; conveniently Hubby was hosting karaoke just up the street. Settling into the warm and dimly lit bar, we fell easily into conversation. Most of it circling around the Bridge brothers and my nearly perverse affection for Steve Martin. But the topics that were the most stimulating were our matching set of ideal workspaces- a cabin in the woods, our love of learning and our problem with time management. Typical of the creative spirit.

Now, I have heard men likened to waffles and women to spaghetti. An implication that one compartmentalizes while the other slithers, piles and knots… My suggestion is that the creative brain is similar to spaghetti, when it should be waffles. My new Gym Friend (heretofore know as GFF) is married to an organizational therapist; which I didn’t know existed but am glad to know there might be a therapist who could help me with my little problem. While explaining to her my scheduling difficulties GFF gave an interesting suggestion. Capsules of time. Instead of forcing an hour of each activity every day, perhaps I attempt to take 15 min bites. Unless of course creative juices are flowing and I am stimulated to continue on. The implication is that if the energy isn’t flowing, I can move on and have the chance to go back to it later, instead of punishing myself with an hour of unproductive efforts wasted. By foraging ahead our mind remains active, without the frustration of being stuck in the spaghetti, if you know what I mean.

There is one complaint I hear universally, it’s that there aren’t enough hours in the day. No time, I’m late, sleepy, sooo busy. Each one of us is given the same amount of daylight hours. How we choose to spend those hours in relation to our goals is up to us. Work, life and all the bits and bobs that come with it need attention of course. But perhaps you have pockets of wasted time- learn a language on your commute, listen to an audio book or motivational track. Maybe you could use your time more effectively with a list or alerts, notifying you of your progress. Nothing feels better than checking off a list. The hardest part of the creative process is pinpointing your goals and organizing yourself accordingly. Blog for today- check. Onto the next thing….aww why is it always laundry?

PS Teach, whenever you want to lease that cabin, I am in, we’ll take our ukes and the Fab Baker Boys.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 20: The Art of Organization