Organizational Musings

On resolutions, goals, calendars and other topics of organizational interests

I have a love/hate relationship with New Years. I love the idea of a fresh beginning, but loathe the feeling of failure that often comes in February (or sooner, depending on the resolution). Since I turned over my organizational leaf last fall, I see no reason to set myself up for another big change. Instead, I will evaluate my progress and think about goals.

Resolutions and goals
I'm finding I work better if I have both a long-range plan and a short-term strategy. For instance, some of my long range plans or life goals are, save enough money for that piece of property on the Wilson River, publish several books, take my children on one major overseas vacation, read the complete works of William Shakespeare and run a 5k with my son. (Keeping in mind that I am horribly out of shape, this is definitely a life goal.) When I look down the road to the coming year, I try to make goals that will in some way further my life goals. For instance:

  1. Finish the companion book to my last book
  2. Start tucking away five percent of article monies away. (This is for vacation and property)
  3. Go to the Shakespearean festival. (I am taking the Shakespeare goal slowly)
  4. Start walking 2 to 3 times a week with my children.

No resolutions, no stress, just tools by which to meet my goals.

Have you ever gone to write something up on the calendar only to find that it's January 3rd--and you don't have a new calendar yet? That must be the ultimate in disorganization! It isn't going to happen this year. This year I am going to be ready.

As many of you know, I began, for the first time in my life, to carry a planner. I find that it is working well, for the most part. The problem? I keep forgetting to move the appointments from my planner onto my calendar. My husband and children would see all the blank days and make plans, only to find out later that Mom had forgotten about a dental appointment or the heater man coming.

So I am off to buy a calendar. Not any old calendar, but one that is actually big enough to write in. All of our old calendars have little tiny squares with chicken scratch writing that you can hardly make out. Half of the entries are in pencil that doesn't show up because I can never find a pen when I need one, and the other half are filled with unreadable abbreviations. I can figure out that "dr. 1 est" means doctor's appointment at one at the East side clinic, but for who? What doctor? These are the areas I need help in and I think bigger squares may be the answer.

Once again my friend Debbie over at Organized Times came to the rescue with some very sage advice. "I like to use colored dots, magic markers, or a 4-color pen with a color assigned to each family member for quick views. Mom is red, Dad is blue, Sister is green, and Brother is black. At a glance, each person can tell where he's going and when." She also suggests using the same system of colors in your planner. This really hits a chord with me; I can't wait to get started. My only worry, though, is trying to keep track of four different colors of pens when I can't even find one of any color when I need it!

Teri Brown is a freelance writer and the homeschooling mother of two. Her book,
Christian Unschooling: growing your child in the freedom of Christ
, is now available.