I just had the greatest success in my life today.

I am 44 years old. I have never in my life been successful with keeping up a calendar. I’m severely disorganized and couldn’t find a system that I could learn quickly and have everything synch up so I could have a super master list of things to do.

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I’ve almost always managed to keep appointments and hit deadlines, but I never scheduled the “need to do, but I have no deadline.” Things. Because of this, I’ve lost track of friends I wanted to keep up with. I’ve missed opportunities to try new things. I’ve missed out a lot on life. But I puttered along.

Then the writing thing really took off. Not only did I manage to keep all my goals of all my projects, I over did it. I’d write for hours and not get anything else done. I realized I had to make a schedule so I would know when to STOP writing. I started making my trusty old outline that I’d probably lose track of in less than a month.

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My husband  had some PTO to burn and he took a week off. We had vague plans to “get things done” but nothing much specific. Monday, I started the not-so-trusty outline. OMG. I was in dire need of changing everything about my lifestyle.
I don’t just have errands, housework and childcare on my plate. I’ve got scheduled seminars coming up. I need to start volunteer work. I need to get a job this fall. I have to plan a trip to Germany. I need to write and keep educated. 
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Then I realized I had wants. I want to keep on top of my blogging and social media network for professional development and networking. I want to be a part time story teller and public speaker. I want to get back on stage and do open mic. I want to go to events. I want to make new friends.

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I needed a planner. I had super high expectations of a planner. The foremost was one that was recommended for people with moderate – severe executive functioning disabilities. (Executive functioning is what makes you able to make decisions, set priorities,take action, and organize things.)

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People would tell me to get myself organized. I tried, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. But training myself to write daily taught me how my brain works and howto get stuff done. I spent two months failing to follow a schedule. Instead of giving up, I forced myself to keep trying different methods of scheduling until something worked.

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It worked. So I spent the last 3 days making to do lists for multiple long term goals. I researched an app that did exactly what I wanted rather than trying random free ones and giving up because they didn’t work right. And when it all came together, I put my entire life into the planner.

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I gave dates and priorities to EVERYTHING except for things I can’t set a date to until I do tasks that lead up to that. I mean everything. I even set daily reminders to play video games. (Not so that I’d remember to play. It was so that I could play, check it off my list and not play the rest of the day) even if I didn’t have a deadline in mind, I set one based on how much I wanted to do it.  

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After I put everything in, I tapped on the master planner to do everything app. My entire life — everything I need or want to do — is right there. And I know for a fact that I can keep up. I’m not hoping. I know it.

People have always thought I lacked willpower and discipline. I believed it too. I now realize that I just was so disorganized that I didn’t even know how to start getting organized. Nothing in the self help books, seminars or professional organizers helped. 

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It’s probably because my brain is wired up in a strange way. I can figure out how to solve problems that have baffled my friends for weeks. At the same time, I get confused and can’t remember how to get home from the grocery store less than a mile away from my house without GPS. Not kidding.

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Anyway, this is the biggest success I have ever had. It’s even better than graduating from college. (I should mention that I managed to graduate with a very respectable GPA and I never used a calendar or planner. It was easier for me to memorize all my deadlines than figure out how to use a planner. That says a lot about me.) 

This is the most incredible thing I’ve ever done and I assumed that I couldn’t do it. I’ve tried for over 25 years and failed. But it’s set up. I figured out how to do this all by myself by trial and error. I made up my own system because none of the systems I’ve ever tried made sense. I am sure that my planner is all strangely set up by other people’s standards. But it’s fine tuned and calibrated to exactly the way my brain works.

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Even if I never get published. I am grateful for trying to be a writer because it was the first thing I wanted badly enough that I went to the most extreme effort to make it happen. I never gave up. Now I get the prize.
And this is cool. I ran out of scheduled blog posts and I figured I’d miss a day of posting. This is messy and quick, but I got it in just before midnight. I still got that done on top of everything else.

1 Comment

  1. Inspiring! I also rely heavily on lists to keep myself organized. I got lucky, that I was led to that particular way of doing things early on. Shudder to think what my writing career would have been like up til now if I hadn’t. It’s wonderful to see how well it worked for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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