The Art of the Possible

Say it Rah-shay By Dec 10, 2011 No Comments

How the Momagenda and Brenda K Reynolds are the tools I need to clearing the clutter.
Or, my life is a mess and this can’t hurt.

The last few weeks have been made all the more stressful with the looming holiday upon me. Work is busy, life is busy and all the while I feel like the massive clutter that has taken over my life has all at once overwhelmed and shamed me. As I rushed around the house searching for my keys (they were on the hook like they were supposed to be) it occurred to me that there has to be a better way and that I need to actually do something.

So when the e-mail for SEPLA’s annual conference and meeting came through my inbox featuring a workshop called Getting Things Done, the Art of Stress Free Productivity I knew I was going. Even if I had to pay the fee out of my own pocket something with the words “stress free” spoke to me. This was one of the best workshops I have attended in a while. As the presenter, Brenda K Reynolds, spoke, I felt as if the dim light I have been seeing at the end of the clutter is visible again and that I can take control of my life and not spend some much time full of angst and guilt. It’s not that I needed Brenda’s permission to own my clutter and loose ways but hearing her plan made me feel that the endless lists that I compose can now ne controlled and my days won’t be the negative wild rush.

We started off with four quotes and the one that spoke to me was from David Kekich: “Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation and action.”


There are days when I am riddled with anxiety as I worry about whether a program will go well, if The Bee is ready for her day, or just the logistics of getting to and from work are going to be OK because I had not done all I could do to prepare. The weeks, days, day, moment, that I am prepared is such a giddy yet false time for me. I primp and preen, falsely confident that everything else will go well only to slide back into the old trap of not being ready, losing things in plain sight and just not knowing which end is up.

With Brenda’s tips I feel a little better equipped and that I have a plan for controlling the massive amounts of clutter and disorder that has taken over my time. There were so many things that made me want to declutter and organize without the shame that I often feel at being so out of control.

She started us out by talking about managing “Open Loops.” These are the many agreements that you make with yourself. Such as the running lists of things to do, the projects for work, homework or supplies for The Bee, the shopping that needs to be done and other things that causes a cluttered mind and thought. Brenda admitted that she doesn’t like visual clutter and I can dig it! When I clear whatever area I’m supposed to be addressing (desk, yarn things, laundry) I always feel like a that clean canvass gives me room to work and since I can’t see the clutter I can manage. This is a temporary band aid but it works for me on some psychological level.

We had a short test in which we wrote down one of the loops and I found myself feeling stressed and guilty that the simple thing I listed (a thrift shop donation) hadn’t been done. When I brought this up she encouraged me to not feel guilty but to acknowledge that this loop had a way to be fixed and to acknowledge that I am working on fixing it.

She then shared with us the five stages to mastering a flow of work:

1. Collect things that command our attention
2. Process what to do about them
3. Organize the results
4. Review the options for what we choose to do
5. Do

As simple as these steps may be for some, for me I think I would have a better chance scaling a mountain. Blindfolded and shoe less than getting myself organized and STAY organized. I always think that once I clear the clutter, clean out the car, organize my files its supposed to stay like that but no, it does and will maintain some repeated effort. Brenda likens organization to doing laundry: even though you’re done (you’ve washed, dried, folded and put it away) there will always be more that needs to be washed, dried, folded. This is going to be work and thankfully I’ll have the tools to assist.

Earlier this year I was able to score a MomAgenda that I have actually used in various stages of success. The planner is pretty neat; there is the overview of the month (mine runs from August through the end of next year) and then a weekly breakdown. There is a section for your week for the things that needs to be done for yourself, a section for your kids and groceries. Since I only have one kid I broke down the kid section into The Bee related activities and blog related stuff. I wasn’t using the MomAgenda because I thought I needed more room to write about EVERYTHING I wanted to do but as Brenda suggested, she takes her planner and writes an overview of what she is doing for the next week. She then has a computer file that she goes into more details of her week. As I am still married to paper and pencil I like the idea of having a planner where I could write everything that I need.

Last evening I hadn’t started any type of organizing (I was kid free and my guy was also free!) but I have started a goal for the next week:

Use the MomAgenda and my work planner for the rest of the week.
I jotted down the ideas that I had been thinking about and even if I don’t do everything exactly as planned I feel as if I have a starting point.

Week at a glance.
Really, I’m not THAT busy!

Week in a bit more detail

Celebrate the victories!
Instead of dogging myself for what I didn’t do I will happily acknowledge the things I did get right.

I have managed to clear some clutter but will sabotage myself by adding to the clutter assuming that I will take a day to clear it all up. No. Instead of dropping my bags wherever I feel, I will put them away. Everything has a place and its up to me to find that place.

We’ll see. I feel like I am ready to go of the clutter and be able to walk across the room without a series of complicated moves. Also, its about high time my sister stops reminding me when Hoarders is on or sending tweets my way when I comment on the show.

It’s possible.
I’m ready


I am mom, daughter, sister, yarn lover, word lover, crazy cat lady and library chick. Find me with book or with hook and a hot cuppa.

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