taking flight into art, love, and life (the blog)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

thoughts on routine, structure, organization


(my  new pink organizer. cute, no?)

those of you that have followed this blog on a regular basis (and my family + friends) have heard me grumble, almost on a constant basis for over a year, that i can't seem to get ahead of myself - that my life seems to have taken on a fast paced momentum that simply has me along for the ride. there's a whole lot of fun, stress, joy, overwhelm, and very little control. i've learned that if i can lean into the momentum and go with it, i'm all good. but the minute i try to control, stop the presses, calculate, anticipate, or expect, then it all goes out the window and i'm left feeling exhausted, a bit anxious, and wondering why can't i get this thing down? what can i change? how can i get more joy from this crazy non-structured life?  

as much as i love my life, as much as i wouldn't change a thing, as much as i am thankful for all of it, i still have this very urgent sense that i need to somehow find a successful way to insert structure into my everyday life. it's the missing anchor, and its absence is the thing that gives me anxiety on a daily basis (that feeling of floating out there, being pulled in a million directions, without any real box or dependable routine to support the craziness). over the last year or so as i've struggled on this point, i've tried creating daily schedules, weekly schedules, list making, task schedules, and on an on - all with various degrees of structure and success. nothing ever really stuck. 

leap fearlessly

then, a few weeks ago, after several more conversations with my friends (who i know must be so tired of my whining, stumbling, and endless chatter about the subject) and one very tearful breaking point, i decided to take a leap of faith and hire someone to help with my growing business - not just help with orders, emails, admin stuff, but someone who could help me get super organized and efficient with my time. i know it's no big deal, really. that every small business reaches this point where it makes sense (especially if there is shipping/fulfilment of orders in the mix). but this simple move of hiring someone has shifted my whole life. i feel more awake. more possible.  less stressed. less overwhelmed. my workload hasn't changed, but i feel like help is on the way every week and that it's worth every single penny. the woman i hired is also a master at time management/life organization and she's deeply inspired me (and is holding me accountable) to finally get this howcanigetmoreroutineinmylife thing figured out. for me, routine + daily structure + schedule = i know what to expect = less anxiety = more present = more joy. so, peeps, i'm fully committed. and i'll keep you updated.

i KNOW i'm not the only person working from home who struggles with schedules and creating structure (esp with the internet/emails/and social networking sites distracting us), so i thought i would share what i've been doing lately to get my life organized/structured/simplified/efficient. here we go:

* i've created a super realistic daily schedule, one that has me rejoicing in it's sense of balance. on the days that i commit to the schedule 100%, then i'm super productive during work hours (about 10 hrs/day) and i'm balanced with self-care and play during non-work hours. work hours are broken down to specific times for painting, internet, to-do lists, running errands and so on. i'm learning that the more specific i am on this front, the better (for me). and i'm reclaiming my weekends for non-work (unless it's painting - that doesn't feel like work :)

* i bought a brand new (larger, more detailed) daily organizer. i kid  you not, i spent a total of about 3 hours in the organizer sections at office depot, office max, and target - looking and obsessing over finding just the right system. in the end, i bought an adorably pink franklin covey organizer at target. and this insert system for daily planning from franklin covey as well. i'm like a kid at the park with this thing. all the list making and daily scheduling - totally keeping me on track with today's plans and the future's. 

* i set up a new + separate email account for all orders that someone else is managing. huge help. 

* i also bought an accordion file - a place to slip all my receipts, travel docs, contracts, etc, into instead of throwing them all on top of a box. 

* i streamlined my banking so that all of my accounts (personal + biz) are with the same bank. this is huge for online management.

* i've completely reorganized the studio so that shipping and fulfillment of orders is much more efficient/easy for my lovely new helper (we've also started an entirely new system of organizing this part of the biz). i've also bought shelving for the studio closet for organization of future product (coming soon!). 



*what else? oh yes, i've made a list of must do daily tasks, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks (related to personal and biz) and i've written them all out accordingly inside my trusty new organizer. 

i know that everyday can't be perfectly structured, that there will be other plans, and hiccups in the mix, but i'm feeling hopeful that this recent inspiration to hire someone and to overhaul my life with organized daily routine may be the trick to help release some of the anxiety that creeps in for me (more and more lately) while at the same time creating more space for me to paint and do other business growing tasks that i enjoy. i'm also hoping it will free up some heart spaces for more joy and presence for the other pieces of my life (friends + family) that deeply matter.




circles