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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A tickler file for organizing your thoughts

For many professional machine quilters the end of the Christmas rush comes to an abrupt halt. Rush for me always started in July. It gradually got busier and busier. As the days got closer to Christmas the stress level rose while the deadlines became more and more the focus of my days. Rush, rush, rush!

I have to get the quilts done. Work faster. Say no lots more often. For several weeks I would be wishing the stress would end. Then suddenly the last quilt was finished and picked up by the owner. An abrupt halt. One day I would still be in rush mode and the next day there was nothing else to do. The stress was gone. Everyone was happy. So I would ask myself..... Now what?

For the first few days I wander around the house thinking something is missing. It's all out of balance. I'm no longer letting my feet hit the floor running, as soon as I wake, to rush to the quilting machine. Suddenly I have all this free time between the end of the rush season and the start of the new year and I don't know what it is I want to do or in what order. It's overwhelming. What to do first? What's most important? So many Me projects have been put on hold and now there is suddenly time to get some of them done. I can't do all of my ME projects so which ones should I do first?

What I do is start making lists. Lots of lists! I'm big on making notes and lists. Through out the year I make notes on pieces of paper. Notes of books to read or recipes to try. Notes of sites to visit or names I don't want to forget. Organizing ideas I have and re purposing ideas to try. Lots of notes and lots of lists.

Here is one example of my notes. Actually many are just rambling thoughts of things I want to remember later.... when I have more time for putting ideas to use instead of on bits of paper.

I keep little note pads like this all over the place. Every room in the house has note pads of one type or another.

At first I thought I would gather all the bits and pieces of paper and organize them into a binder. I got out my tabs....

and created a really nice binder.

After getting it created and all pretty, I decided I don't want to use the binder. I prefer a tickler type file. A tickler file is a file box filled with file cards. (tickle your thoughts) One thought or idea per card. As each card is acted upon it can be tossed. A tickler file is much easier to keep organized. In a binder it would be a terrible waste of paper to use one sheet per idea.
So now I'm going to gather all my bits and pieces of paper and get them organized for 2010. The past year wasn't the hardest I've endured but it was tough none the less. I'm glad it's nearly over and a new one is starting in a few days.


gail.designs said...

I love this idea of a tickler file using cards. I'm going to use this for new ideas and to-do's for 2010. My memory is not what it was and I constantly forget things that I was sure I'd remember. Then when I stumble across that idea a second time, it's like a vague 'Oh' moment and I'm only 57 years young! Have a great Christmas Holiday!

Anita Estes said...

Hi Gail, I have the same problem which is why I decided to use the tickler. I'm glad to help. Now the trick for me will be to actually USE the file instead of just another place to stick a note.... smile.

I originally used a tickler file when I worked in an office as a portfolio manager. I had many projects going and needed to keep track of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. It was easy to pull out a card, do the task, and toss the card.

kathi said...

I so know that abrupt stop feeling. the WHAT do i DO now? Christmas is now over. Josh and the 4 Ohio grans are coming New years Eve. I have THREE DAYS for ME time. My "projects for Me in 2009" list is a full notebook page long. I MIGHT have completed 3 of those projects this past year. HMMM? I like your tickler file idea. I wish i would have read tihs before we went shopping yesterday.. gotta go see what i've on hand to use.
THANKS for the GREAT idea.