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Organizing! Planning! Trying to Make It All Work

Are you the type of person who picks up the latest self-help book, in the hope that it will solve your latest life crisis?

Are you regularly sucked in by clickbait headlines for articles promising “10 Surefire Ways to…” or “The Top 5 Reasons Why…” that may or may not resolve a dilemma you’re facing?

Are you always subscribing to “mastermind” courses or “thought leader” webinars that promise to give you solutions, streamline your life, and in general make all of your problems go away?

I never thought I was that kind of person…until things started getting crazy in my caregiving journey several years ago.

When I first began assuming significant responsibility for the care of my elderly mother, I knew it would be a challenge. Was I up for the challenge? Absolutely.

I am an intelligent person. I am a hard worker. And I am motivated. So in my mind, it was just a matter of organization and time management. A few systems here. A few strategies there. And I’d be set.

So I began my research. I immersed myself in a world in which there was a specially designed container, folder, or drawer to house every conceivable item and guaranteed to ensure easy access. I actually went to The Container Store and wandered the aisles, marveling at all of the products, trying to figure out what some of them actually did, and why someone would pay such high prices for them.

I bought an online subscription course for how to use all of these items to bring organization to my chaos. (Silly me, I had been reusing plastic Cool Whip tubs and cheap manila file folders!)

I immersed myself in a world in which there are actual systems for how you accomplish the tasks of everyday life.

I bought a label maker. I learned about time blocking. I learned that there are specific calendar products with stickers, pens for color coding, and processes for how you write each and every life event in said calendar. I learned this from the many YouTube videos posted by fanatical calendar groupies showing just how to do this. Who knew? Back in the day, I pretty much just tried to keep dates and appointments in my head, along with using the occasional Post-It note or scrap of paper.

So has all of this improved my caregiving life? Not exactly. It seemed that just about every time I mastered some aspect of organization and time management that would address some caregiving challenge, the bar was raised, and I was left seeking out a new strategy…system…container to meet the latest challenge.

When I began my caregiving journey I didn’t realize how long the journey would be and how involved those challenges would become.

But I continue to seek out tools that might help.

At the beginning of this year I bought a new calendar. It’s big! It’s bright! It didn’t come with stickers or pens for color coding. So I’m using the stickers and pens that I bought to use with the previous 2 calendars that I bought. (These were smaller. but very pretty and produced by a nationally known calendar designer with a large following of fanatical calendar groupies! Initials EC.)

But this year I added a twist: a 5-section spiral notebook with categories of notes – tabbed personally with my label maker – which I can then transfer to the “real” calendar as appropriate. Oh, and don’t forget the monthly calendar that the home care agency created for my use.

Have I become an organizational maven? A “real” calendar girl? Not necessarily. But I’m going to keep at it. I’m having way too much fun wandering the aisles of The Container Store and watching YouTube videos!

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