I have, in some ways, a storybook life, where I mostly get to do whatever I want all day. I play my Harps & keyboards, sing, compose, workout, garden, make & eat awesome food, write, etc. It’s all wonderful, and although I don’t always have a lot of money, I manage to make ends meet and I am immensely grateful for all that I have, all that I am, and all that I am yet to be. My life is awesome.
Then there is little terri. little terri is my inner child. She looks innocent enough, but in reality she’s a crazy 4 year old, who wants what she wants and wants it right now. She’s compulsive and unwilling to listen to reason. She’s smart, precocious, and prone to Obsessions, with her current obsession being “The Wheel of Time”, a series of high fantasy books by Robert Jordan, 15 books in all! We, and by We, I’m referring to the Me, Myself, and I known as Terri HarpLady, little terri, and Ms. Theresa (my personal inner Secretary/Office Manager/Parent), started reading the books back in July and are currently on book 8, The Path of Daggers. It’s a wonderful series, and we can’t put it down! This means I’m not sleeping enough, or doing many of the things I need to do to keep my life flowing in a manageable way, and luckily, I don’t really have a lot going on right now, or I’d be in trouble!
little terri is somewhat unruly, but she is also filled with joy, wonder, playfulness, & adventure. She likes to lock Ms. Theresa in a closet somewhere in the recesses of my mind, because Ms. T is kind of bossy, and not really very much fun. Ms. T likes to organize things & create systems, dreams of creating a beautiful orderly life for us, and when she finally picked the lock and broke out of the closet, she took one look around and screamed! Here’s what our office looks like, or at least half of it.
This panoramic view is primarily focused on our desk, which is where much of the mess lies. Granted, even when things are neater, it’s really a mix of chaos & order. We have a special system, designed especially for us, by Ms. Theresa, which includes elements of various other systems. Years ago Ms Theresa read a book, “The Sidetracked Home Executives: From Pigpen to Paradise” by Pam Brace & Peggy Jones. That book formed the cornerstone of her ongoing attempts to create order in Our lives, and her efforts continue to this day, pulling elements from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, “The Passion Planner” by Angelia Trinidad (The best calendar ever, and yes, you need one!), and even the 12 Steps of NA.
Here is the card file, the same one I purchased back in 1983, as recommended by Pam & Peggy (known by some as the “Slob Sisters”). It’s filled with a variety of daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and yearly tasks, each written on 3X5 cards. Each day has it’s tasks, and when I actually complete each card, most of which take very little time to do, then I’ve accomplished something! Clearing off my Desk, for example, is a weekly task, meant to be done on Tuesdays, but today is Wednesday, and as you can see, I didn’t do all the Tuesday jobs yesterday. Not because they were difficult, but because I did other things, including playing a gig, teaching a few students, and then spent the rest of the day reading. Luckily, this system is kind of flexible. Although for me, that can also be it’s downfall, LOL.
Thanks to this card system, I’ve realized that I work best in cycles, and although I’m chronically right brained, my alter ego Ms. Theresa, has developed certain left brain tendencies that have helped expand upon this system. Each day of the week has a special quality to it, that instills a sense of order into my meandering life, and helps me to focus on the tasks at hand.
Maintenance Mondays consist of a few hours of concentrated housework, with all members of the house participating. The kitchen always gets cleaned, and especially on the first Monday of the month, which focuses on the first floor, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th mondays being dedicated to the 2nd floor, basement, and front yard. The 5th Mondays are for special projects, like the garage. Monday is also my cookup day, where I make some staples to enjoy for the rest of the week, and plan some meals. It’s all about doing those things that will help the rest of the week flow smoothly.
Techno Tuesdays are dedicated to my desk work: clean my desk, balance checkbooks, pay bills, and other ‘businessy’ kind of things. I have plans to designate each Tuesday of the month to a specific task as well, such as updating my website on the first tuesday, etc.
Writer Wednesdays – In theory, Wednesday is the day for writing my Blog, which I’m finally doing today. I’m also a songwriter, and I have a few NaNoWriMo novels that I hope to eventually move from First Draft to something more, and a few other unfinished projects. Of course, there will also be a rotating Wednesday monthly schedule, and a part of Wednesdays is Wandering Wednesdays, my weekly errand excursion, which usually happens in the morning. Sometimes, especially in the Spring, it becomes Wild Wednesday, a full day of gardening.
Tidy up Thurs, which fits because it’s my laundry day, also rotating through personal monthly tasks, like vacuuming my bedroom, changing my sheets, straightening up my studio, etc. It is also Tie it Up Thursday, meaning finish any projects that were started earlier in the week, so I can end the week with a feeling of completion. I also get to plan my creative ideas for Friday.
Freedom Friday! Yes, Fridays are dedicated to music & creativity! Recording myself, learning how to use Logic better, playing my Harp with wild abandon. Of course, I play music most days for an hour or 2, working on orchestra parts, or special pieces for an upcoming gig or another, but Friday is for being original and just having fun.
When I don’t have gigs on the weekends, we’re talking Slackerly Saturday and/or Slackerly Sunday. Sleep in, have a late breakfast, take a hot bubble bath, and do whatever I want, which usually includes wearing PJs all day.
This is the basis for my system, although there are many other elements. Each day I try to get through all the dailies, like practicing, working out, gardening. Then I move on to the weeklies, monthlies, etc. I also have students on and off, gigs here & there, and a variety of projects I’m juggling (way too many, to be honest).
From Chaos to Creativity…more or less!