Am I organized?

I really want to think of myself as an organized person. I work hard at it. I took the Franklin Covey three-day course in using their planner, which frankly was a very long time to sit and learn how to fill in your calendar. I buy calendars and agendas yearly, and notebooks usually once a month. I buy them and start all over. Then I throw out the paper organizers and notebooks and move to Outlook. Then I move to an Excel spreadsheet. Then I move back to the spiral notebook and calendars.

I’m exhausted from the sheer weight of carrying these books around, and I find myself unable to track my life for more than a few weeks because of all the books I have started and stopped.

Here is a picture of just the books from last month. Two spiral calendars and three notebooks of different sizes (so one would fit more readily in my handbag). The lovely blue appointment book is big enough to last eighteen months (who am I kidding?) and so far I like it a lot. The purple one was nice, but there was something about the pages that didn’t work with my favorite pen. The dark brown notebook in the back had these really cool slider things into which you could put extra papers, but I really don’t have extra papers and I didn’t like the tacky plastic.

As you can see, I have an organization problem. I can’t commit. I can’t commit to where to live and I can’t commit to how to handle my calendars and to do lists.

I talk to friends about it and ask them what they do. “How do you keep track of your to-do list?” I ask them. “Is it like mine—longer than your life-span?” Usually they look at me like I’m nuts, but some of them actually answer.

“I write it on a Word document, print it out, cut out stuff I’ve finished, add new stuff in, and then reprint it,” said Roseanna, who also has a long ‘to do’ list and seems to be an organized person. But I don’t like that idea, because once you have deleted your finished items from the Word document, you have no record of what you did. Also, how can you get that great feeling at the end of the day looking at all the things you have crossed off? I need that carrot at the end of my day. I ask for so little.

I also have trouble committing to pens and pencils. I’ll pick a favorite brand and stock up on them, and then another one that sneaks in and I like that one even better. I am a pen whore. I will drop one for another with the snap of a pencil over your thigh. My favorite pen right now is square and it came, I think, from the W Hotel. It’s very expensive to stay there, so it makes sense that they would have good pens. I may go to the W in NYC next time I’m there and see if I can lift some of them so I have a stash.

All in all, I would like to commit to a to-do list protocol and an appointment book for at least one year. I’m hoping some of you out there in cyberspace have the same problem and will not judge me. It’s hard to come out of the closet about some of these shortcomings, and if you are going to judge me, please do it silently so I don’t become self-conscious.

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