Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The pen is mightier than the...electronic

I love all things relating to organization. One of my favorite things has always been my planner - it's so much more than a calendar. On the calendar itself I keep track of appointments, things I've done on particular days, outfits I've worn, notes and other random bits of information. I keep passwords, budgets, quotations, and lists.

Oh the lists.

Lists of things to blog about, things to do, things to learn. After awhile, my planner gets so heavy and so big that I hate to carry it around. I like to use big planners, because at work I can write meeting notes on the daily calendar. Some people leave their planners at work - but then my numbers, notes, and lists don't come home with me. If I bring my big planner home, I either need a bigger purse (which inevitably leads to me throwing loads of crap I don't need into said purse) or bringing another bag entirely, just to carry my planner.

When Palm Pilots came out, I was ecstatic. Here was a way to carry all of my information in one tiny little package. Alas, it didn't work out. I had my phone, my Palm Pilot, plus lots of post-its and other lists I'd write at work. I couldn't stick random things in my Palm Pilot like pay stubs and prescriptions, so those ended up clogging up my purse.

I ended up switching back to a paper planning system. I took a Franklin Covey class and fell in love with the Covey system. Then, I got a Smartphone. Talk about love. A phone, internet, email, calendar, and notepad all in one? Beautiful.

But, there were issues. I missed handwriting things; you can only type so fast on those little keyboards. Plus, I was still writing things on post-its and having to transfer them to the Smartphone. I couldn't jot little notes or thoughts on the calendar of a Smartphone. I liked having email at hand, and my calendar; however, at work you HAVE to use your Outlook calendar, because that's how people schedule meetings with you. Using two calendars is not efficient, and I began forgetting things.

For awhile I had a Blackberry through work - this was a great system. I could use one calendar for all things work and personal, and take it all home with me in one little package. I could type notes and lists quickly on my computer with a regular-sized keyboard, and they synced automatically with my Blackberry.

Then I changed jobs and lost the Blackberry. Bummer. Ever since I lost my Blackberry, I've had a hard time finding a system that works for me. I feel like I'm always using two calendars, which is really just twice the work.

Plus, I truly like hand-writing things. I love office supplies, pens, paper (more on this subject in a future post) - I was still writing things down and transferring them to my Blackberry. I started feeling guilty using a paper planner...couldn't I be so much more efficient using a Smartphone? Multiple functions in one little package? I was saving trees by not using so much paper.

I'm back to using a paper planner now (I found one that's not so bulky and fits in my purse). I miss having alerts automatically pop up, but I can deal with it. I also now have an iPhone. At first, I tried really hard to use the notes and the calendar functions. However, as I find more apps to download, I feel less guilty not using the calendar. The iPhone does so many other things, and combines so many other functions into one tiny little package, that I don't feel like I'm not using it to it's fullest by not using the calendar.

(On a side note, hello, boss, how about my own Blackberry? That would solve all my problems.)

I've started a new job recently, and it's a job where I don't have as many meetings, so it's not a big deal that I'm using two calendars. However, one thing I'm still struggling with is finding a system for notes. When I used a Franklin planner at my old job, I used Daily Pages so that I could put my appointments on the monthly tabs, and then I could record voicemail messages and/or notes from meetings on each daily page. All my notes stayed together, and I wasn't using multiple tablets and losing things all over my desk.

Now that I'm using a smaller paper planner that can fit in my purse, I'm not recording v/m's and meeting notes in my planner. Using the Franklin Planner would be duplicative, so that's out. Lately I find myself using multiple tablets and an awful lot of post-its at work. I feel so unorganized - things are in multiple places and get moved all over my desk. I need a system!

What do you all do at work to keep things organized? I know many of you work in different industries - writers, teachers, insurance folks. Each industry is different, but you still need paper, you still must make notes. How do you keep everything organized?

Please - help!! Leave me a comment, send me an email, take a picture of your desk (seriously, I'd love to see a picture of your desks...).

To feel or not to feel...guilty

• remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offense
• a cognitive or emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes – whether justified or not – that he or she has violated a moral standard, and is responsible for that violation
• closely related to the concept of remorse
• responsibility for wrongdoing

Why do people feel guilt? Why do some people feel guilt more than others? Why do some people, myself included, feel guilt over stupid things that the other person has probably already forgotten about but that I stew about and think about and replay over and over in my mind?

Let me back up.

My brother and I often talk about the fact that we have two kinds of guilt. First, we have Catholic guilt, which all other Catholics can relate to and tell you non-Catholics about. Okay, we’re not exactly attend-church-every-Sunday-practicing Catholics, but still, the guilt is always there. Second, we have our own family guilt; we actually call it “(insert last name here) guilt” (sorry, I’m not quite ready to reveal my full name and identity to everyone in Blog Land). We’re hit with a double-whammy of guilt. I don’t know why, but it’s always there, even when I probably have nothing to feel guilty about.

Take last night. I was a bitch. Well, not so much a bitch, but a sullen and withdrawn person who wasn’t bubbly and friendly like she usually is (no really, I usually am). I’ve been working, getting used to a new schedule where I get up at the butt-crack of dawn (excuse the vulgar language, but that’s really what time it is), starting school again, battling with my weight, and preparing for a wedding (not my own, but one I’m in). After awhile, it starts to take a toll on you.

Last night, apparently, I was done. I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I couldn’t put on a happy face, and so…I didn’t.

Later, I felt really bad about it. Now for most people, you might feel bad about, resolve to change, and be done with it. But not me. I felt bad about it, resolved to change, and then moped around thinking about it for the rest of the night. I feel better this morning, but I still have that guilty feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why?

Here’s a little something about me. I am a pretty easygoing person. I am anal and organized, but I’m a true procrastinator. I’m a hard worker and set high standards for myself, but I’m lazy. I don’t get stressed out or anxious, but guilt and regret often sit like stones in the pit of my stomach. I’m getting very good at not caring about what other people think of me, but I often retrace my actions in my mind to analyze them for myself.

I am an oxymoron on so many levels.

The problem is that I don’t know how to stop dwelling on things. Take last night – I wasn’t flat out rude, I was just (as previously mentioned) a bit sullen and withdrawn (add to that the fact that I was PMS’ing, and you can imagine my mood). I resolved to turn my attitude around, and that should be that.

But it’s not.

I’m still thinking about it today. It’s there, in the back of my mind and the pit of my stomach, affecting my overall mood. How do I let it go? Why can’t I let it go? Why do I keep replaying it over and over in my mind?

Why do I feel this darn guilt?