Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Quite Resolutions

I don't believe in resolutions. At least, not for the secular New Year at any rate. My new year and my resolutions began at the first of Advent. One of those was to be more organized and tidy. Some of my friends call me a neat freak. I live in fear of my inner messy getting out. If I ever took Ambien, I wouldn't sleep drive. I'd sleep-mess-things-up. I'd wake up a house where socks are strewn everywhere, cat dust bunnies roll threateningly across the landscape, and dirty dishes pile the counters. Since that sounds frighteningly like the place I currently make war against, resolutions to be organized are always good!

In the spirit of "More Organized", I did a great job of setting up a system of folders, to-do lists, and dividers in a notebook I call my "Book of Everything". It had 4 pockets, a to-do list, a calendar, a divider full of emergency info, a parish directory, and a notepad. Each Sunday, I choose several projects to work on for the week. One is always my sermon, but the others might be a Diocesan blog entry, the Vestry report and agenda, an article to work on, or a parish event. What I like about my system is that I always had my immediate "to do" projects at hand in my bag, which also has my keys and pagers, so I can work anywhere, anytime.

What I didn't like was the waste of paper (4-6 pages of paper for the readings, alone, each week). What my acupuncturist didn't like was the weight. I had a full size, 8x11 notebook. It *is* honestly hefty. With my laptop in the bag, it weighed well over 10 pounds, and apparently may have been a factor in the chronic back/neck pain and stress. Not to mention was the paper load and my urge to green my office by going paper-less when possible, and the need to recycle so much.

Obviously, some lightening was in order. I took a hard look at my "book of everything" and realized that I could adequately do most of my work if it were half the size, and I could stop toting so many documents if I made more use of my flashdrive. If I printed my calendars and readings on pages that were half the size, I'd save paper. My readings now take up 2 pages instead of 4-6! Global warming stopped! Trees saved! Environment rescued!

I even got to be thrifty. Typical planner binders start in the low $30s and go up over $130. What's a thrifty (read: cheap) chick on a budget to do? I went to Office Depot... on a mission! I went alone, since I'm a terrible, slow, indecisive shopper who browses, selects, debates, chooses, changes mind, puts back, browses more, has brainstorm, puts back... But I lucked out. On my third browse through the aisles, my eye fell upon this telephone address book. It was the right size, it was cute-but-dignified, and it was just 20 bucks! I also splurged for the fancy "to do" and "subject" planner pages. In high school, my mom tried valiantly to teach me to make my own on recycled paper, but there's just something about the virgin paper of the plastic-wrapped To Do list and Project pages I just can't resist. Hey, I'm printing my own calendar pages and cut down my sermon to 2 pages, what more do you want?

I took my loot home, made a martini, and spent the next half hour cutting down the dividers in my big notebook to fit. I even discovered folders that fit perfectly in our receipt saver!

We'll see how it works. Will my new mini "Book of Everything" keep me organized, allow my stressed back to heal, and fold my socks for me, or will it also fall by the wayside of best intentions?

Addendum: Jan 30. Clearly, because her mom is a pain, the Vagabond must clarify. The main calendar is kept via her beloved Palm Centro, the phone that is also her brain. It is only the CHURCH and WORK related calendars and projects that go into the Book of Everything. Things like sermons, calendars including special services, and liturgical days. Trust me, no one needs to carry the liturgical calendar around all the time. If I'm on my day off, I don't care whose saint's day it is. The book of everything is limited to work related things only. So I can safely leave it in my work bag and ignore it when not working. See? Brilliant.


Mom said...

Finally, vindicated after years of "but Maaaaaaa you neeeeeeeeeeed an electronic PDA. It's so much better than a paper telephone/address/my life/everything book that you write into." HUMPH

Wanna see my stock of 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 sheets of recycled paper to print on?
Hint: It was in one of my boxes you wanted to throw out.

The Vagabond Priest said...

You SHOULD have thrown it out! And you LIKE your PDA! You, on the other hand, are a packrat! I probably tried to RECYCLE the box of used paper but nooooo, I bet you ran to the bin and pulled it out when I wasn't looking...


It's not calendar, address book, and notes that goes in the notebook- it's stuff like sermons and class planning and projects, stuff that a PDA can't do. So there. Pblth! You are SO not vindicated. I'm just more organized. YOU"LL SEE!! YOU"LL SEE WHEN I SHOW UP ON SUNDAY WITH MY ORGANIZED WORK BAG!! I will give you a quarter if you can even FIND your to-do list. So I win, I win, I WIN!!!!!

Klassiklehrer said...

Wait: Is this the same New England where Thoreau advised us to keep our accounts on our thumbnails?

Well, it felt good to let out a little of my inner snarky, but more seriously I too teeter on the paper/PDA divide. On the paper side, I'm a teacher and can tell you exactly what my hourly schedule will be from now to doomsday, but on the PDA side I hate scrambling for a scrap of paper to note a meeting, and this happens more than I would like to think.

Last year, for the month when I went to Germany and wanted a phone that worked in Europe and the US, I traded up to a Blackberry 8830, which was cool but really way more device than I needed. Or was it? I traded back down but may go back to the Blackberry soon, as I'm taking kids to Greece in April. (This may also show misplaced loyalty; Sprint is a great service but has no simple phones that work globally, as those of Cingular and Verizon do.)

Paperwork calls. Tchuss!