Focus on the Prize

A year ago, I was at the apex of my cumulative cancer treatments.  Surgery, dozens of tests, hospitalizations, drugs, chemotherapy and radiation had huge side effects on my brain and body.  It felt very much like the forgetfulness we all feel as we age, but much sharper and more pronounced.  I knew I was forgetting important stuff.  Like the name of that blue thing I hold in my hand to write my To Do list.  And those eye things I need to read.  And, I’m sorry … but what is your name again?  Have we met?  It was scary and startling to wonder where half of my memories had gone and how do I function in the technical world with a squirrel running around in my head?  I had no idea at that point if the brain damage was permanent.

List making has saved me all my life, but if something intercepted my task being recorded on my phone in the shape of a calendar entry, note or voice message, it was GONE.


Never to be seen again.  What appointment?  I would tell my son he had to remind me if he told me something once.  Or five times.  Didn’t matter how many times I was told, because I couldn’t remember any of it.

Add stress, interruptions and tangents to that lack of memory and I completely forgot where I was going.

I’m back on track and trying to pull in all the loose threads of my life.  With my promotion came more risk and responsibility, so I have to double down on where I want to spend my energy.  More than ever, I need to focus myself.  I used to consider myself fairly well organized, but there were some things I just put off thinking about.  Which, of course, meant I forgot about them.

If you have known me for years, you know that I do something every January … the first Monday after New Year’s, I change my diet.  I either go on a fast or a cleanse, or a combination.  While I still have plans to do that, I am also going to redo my planners.

Paper migrated to digital spreadsheets and notes … and I have lost track of them.  I’ve tried paper-based systems and Office Project, but believe I need some kind of hybrid system.  I am grateful that I moved my grocery list to my phone so it is always with me.  As soon as I realize I need something, I add it to my list.  But the physical act of writing longhand has always helped me process the information I juggle in a way typing couldn’t.  Maybe because writing took longer ie. more recording time in the grey matter.

*Note:  Of course the squirrel had to run off and do a little research on writing vs typing:
The Benefits of Writing by Hand vs Typing

Since I have a TON of planning to prepare for January 2019, I feel like I have to do a reboot on my entire system.  As I become more overwhelmed with information, interruptions and choices, I am getting less done.

I realize that making my process work for me will be a journey.  There isn’t one destination – or planner – which can capture all the nuances of my life.  I will develop my own system after a year – 2019 – of research.

Each month I will add, change or delete to my process.  I will try many of the different tools available, and report on their pros & cons.  My hope is that by the end of the year, I will have a customized plan to share with you.

First order of business is to choose the first system to review.  Stay tuned!

I have narrowed the paper-based list to:

Panda Planner


Or a good, old-fashioned Notebook

But then what do I do with the loose sheets of paper?  Perhaps a binder with a pocket is a better option.  See … this is the process I go through EVERY time I try time management!

Or do I want to go all creative and try Create 365 The Happy Planner and turn scheduling into an art form?

Today’s colour palette is Home Expectations from Colour Lovers because I put that shit on everything!

The Fox

2 Comments Add yours

  1. cupcakecache says:

    I love using my phone for lists and also for resolutions which only I can view.

    Liked by 1 person

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