Wednesday, February 15, 2017

10 Ways I'm Organizing in the "New" Year: Late Adopter's Edition

By Lisa Alber

I don't know about you, but about this time of year, mid-February, I'm itchy for spring. In Portland, OR, crocus and other spring bulbs are sprouting and the black-capped chickadees have returned. It feels like almost-spring, so I count is as the true start to my New Year. Forget January. January is for people who aren't bothered by season affective disorder.

I've always been a late adopter, so it's no surprise that each year I adopt a late-nik attitude to organization for the new year. Here are some of the things I'm doing right now to get back into a groove after a worse winter season than usual, weather-wise -- and morale-wise, if I'm going to be honest about it.

1. Invited gal pals over for brunch, which forced me to do my spring cleaning early. No one needs to know that all winter long I watched a generation of spiders live through their life cycles in the various corners of my home. Amazing how a clean home picks up my spirits.

2. While under brunch deadline, I spent hours organizing every paper that had accumulated on every horizontal surface for the last, oh, three-four-five months. Much of this had to do with finishing up PATH INTO DARKNESS, for sure. But still, I'm a crazy paper lady. If you're like me, you'd find inspirations and ideas for stories, phone numbers you thought you lost, stray checks, and so much more.

3. Bought a ridiculous day planner that I suspect I'll rarely use, but that has inspired me to start writing down task lists again, not to mention goals for the year.

4. Invested in Post-It notes and deposited them in various places around the house with pens nearby. Then, I'll write random thoughts down randomly as they occur to me, rather than try to hold everything in my mind and inevitably forget stuff.

5. Assigned a section of wall as my Post-It place. Every few days I plan to gather up my Post-Its and stick them up on the wall. I might even decide to group them according to priority. And, I'll throw them away as I go along rather than let them accumulate so that my counters and table tops end up looking like hamster nests.

6. Speaking of throwing away--I threw away my mail pile. Except for bills and tax documents, that's right, I zapped it! Anything important will come back to haunt me later -- I'll deal with it then. :-)

7. For longer-term projects that require planning, before month's end I'll pull on my big-girl undies and sit down, just me and my thoughts. Have you noticed how hard it is to just sit and think? It's crazy out there, and it's crazy in my head. I'll use my handy-dandy day planner to work backwards from writing deadlines (for me, this is publication of PATH INTO DARKNESS in August).

8. Money stuff? Yeah, who doesn't have money stuff. Every year there are at least a few larger expenses I need to wrangle. I planned a tight budget to hopefully, if all goes well, save up as much money as possible before the expenditures. This year, I'll be going to Toronto for Bouchercon, and I'd like to hire painters to paint my house (interiors--I hate beige and all my walls are beige) -- I can't do it myself because I don't feel like dealing with it -- plus I've got vaulted ceilings. I've got a house savings bucket and a travel savings bucket, and I'm gonna fill them slowly but surely.

9. Ack, the yard... Screw it, I hired someone to do the major stuff. Problem solved. Sometimes throwing money at things is the best solution. Frees up my brain for other things.

10. As soon as I run out of something, *especially* things I don't have to buy often like Scotch tape and light bulbs, my new plan is to re-stock immediately. Light bulbs drive me nuts. I never seem to have any around, and I've let it go on too long. I'd say about a quarter of mine are burned out now. So before the end of the month I'm hitting Home Depot for a light bulb binge. (And I'll buy extras!)

So that's what my February "New" Year looks like.

How are you doing right now as we wish for winter's end? 

Lisa Alber is the author of the County Clare mysteries. Her debut novel, Kilmoon, has been called "utterly poetic" and "a stirring debut." Her second in the County Clare mysteries, WHISPERS IN THE MIST came out in August from Midnight Ink Books. Looks for PATH INTO DARKNESS in August 2017. Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging round out her distractions. Facebook | Twitter


sonia said...

I can relate re the yard business... Every year I decide to tackle my once beautiful flower garden and only ever get around to weeding before the bees and wasps have taken over. Hopefully this year some of the seeds I planted will bloom because I'm sure I won't fulfill my wish of actually spending hours trying to avoid getting stung while replanting and enriching the soil.

Unknown said...

HI Sonia, I didn't catch this comment. Thanks for visiting! Oh, that's too bad the bees and wasps are such pests in your yard. Gardening is such a pleasure. A couple of years ago I hired a beekeeper to move a gathering of honeybees that had decided to park themselves in my walls.