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Mandi Miles

I'm only happy when I'm making

103

20

My Piles Have Piles

INTRO: Hi all! I'm Mandi. I've been sitting here trying to sum up the reasons I'm in this class without having it sound like excuses [or a pity party], but I can't so I'll just throw it all out there.

Short version: I'm taking this class so I can be confident in putting more time into my fledgling business and know that life [as a stay-at-home mom of five] will not implode on me. 

Long version: Know up front that I'm really self depreciating in a humerous way and I find the quirks of ADHD frustratingly amusing. I laugh at myself alot. That said, I am an ADHD addled stay-at-home mom to five kids. I've heard that stay-at-home is the worst job for a person with ADHD and I'm inclined to agree. I suck at it. My house is a disaster. My desk is piled high with, "this is the best hand turkey I ever made!" and lists + step by step plans [ad nauseam]. I've been told/counseled that maybe it would be better if I went to work and put my kids in daycare, but I can't seem to do it. My husband prefers that I be home and I haven't pushed the issue because I feel like I would be taking the easy route and giving up/running away from a tough situation. Ridiculous, I know, but it is what it is and I keep trying to rise to the challenge of managing my home/family. Here's the real kicker... I really am trying to escape in my own little way. I also have a small Etsy shop that I'm wanting to be wildly successful with so I can hire someone to come clean my house, but at the same time I'm self-sabotaging and holding back because getting one order shipped sends my day into a tail-spin and causes widespread stress and panic. That's me in a nutshell. My piles have piles. My kids have stains on their clothes. I eat ice cream and dream of going to some island where I can stay in a hut over the water. Nice to meet ya!

DEC 3 || 

Here's my pre-assessment:

I've downloaded Things & Evernote. I've added 60 items to Things and I'm clearing a tote for all the papers in/on/under my desk. For now, I'm going to limit the physical items to what's in my office. Even then, it's going to take a while... 

A few hours later: Is it really possible to have every single open loop processed? I see no light... 

DEC 4 ||

Wow! I'm feeling really good about what's been going on in here. The system is starting to take shape and make sense. I can see the bigger picture and it's looking really good. I love how the areas/projects/tasks break goals into manageable pieces and how the layout of the workflow forces me to look at the big picture and not get sucked into hyperfocusing on that one little detail that probably doesn't mean a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. 

So far I've cleared my e-mail inbox, set up THINGS: I created AREAS of focus [I kept this really simplified for now... Family / Health / Home / Church / Work / Money], PROJECTS that fit inside each of the areas... Things like my son's Bear Scout Award, individual design projects, Christmas fun, Office clean-up, etc. And I've broken those projects down into defined and doable action steps that I can check off the list. I love checking things off lists. :)   I also set up EVERNOTE: I've got all of my project folders set up [though I did opt to not make a folder for my son's Scouts... To this point we've not had any need of a computer folder so I don't see the need for a notebook on Evernote. Maybe when my older boy gets into merit badges here in the next few months that will change. Who knows?

So excited! Now to get all the papers I tossed into the bin in my office dealt with. Then I think I'll be caught up with processing my open loops...

ps. I know I keep mentioning Scouts, but in my mind it's the perfect example of how the system works: My son [Family Area] is working toward his Bear award [Project]. In order to receive the award he needs to accomplish certain very defined tasks... All I need to do now is find his book so I can enter those tasks into Things and I'll not have to wonder where he's at or what he could be doing. Heck, I'll never have to wonder where his book is again! 

DEC 6 || So I've been working the system for a couple of days. I really love how it's like a brain dump. I don't have to worry about losing anything and I've been able to shut down the repeat loop I usually have in my head reminding me of important things I don't want to forget. When I'm feeling like I should be doing something productive but don't really know what to do [I can often be found wandering my house aimlessly while feeling overwhelmed] I check in with Things. Too bad Things won't do my laundry for me. :(

I just got Evernote organized into stacks and I love how nice and clean it looks. 

Here's a random yet real life application of the concepts I'm starting to internalize: This afternoon I used used the idea of actually seeing projects being broken down into very specific tasks with my oldest son. He has a tendency to overlook things or just move items from one place to another without really accomplishing anything when he does his chores.  I had him make a list of everything in his area and break down what needed to be done to have it completely dealt with/put where it belonged. I gave him a basket for someday items that aren't really for him to deal with [i.e. there was a scarecrow hat from the halloween costume box still floating around]. He made his list and when he showed it to me I wondered if it would really work - 2/3 of the items I knew were in his area were not on the list, but I didn't say anything except for him to go and follow the list. When he told me he was done I went and checked. This is where I pointed out the need to be really specific and not miss anything. And I had him do it again. He rolled his eyes at me. I know this sounds obnoxious and crazy of me, but I really want him to understand this concept: Big jobs are made of tiny little parts. Parts that you can do. Follow each of those tiny parts to completion then move on to the next. Don't get hung up on things that you aren't capable of doing yet - throw them in the someday box until you are ready. I'm going to make him do this with his chores for a while. Maybe he'll actually start doing a decent job. We've had this problem for quite a while, but haven't had success. I just want him to be aware of what needs to be done and do it. Here I am with my fingers crossed. 

DEC 11 || I've been working on clearing out piles and getting things really taken care of, both virtually and physically. I'm feeling really good about the system. Just a quick overview of the last few days/phases... 

*I decided not to really change anything in the checklists for now. They are a pretty solid foundation for getting things sorted and out of my head. It's going to take a while for me to get to the point where I can honestly check off tasks like, "Clear downloads folder/clear physical desktop + notebooks + inbox." I'm so backlogged in that area, but I am slowly working through the backlog while maintaining the pseudo clarity I achieved in the physical arena by tossing everything into a bin [everything that didn't have a due date at least]. 

*Tagging in Things. I had some tags. I deleted them. I made some others that seemed more useful. I deleted them. I'm still on the fence. One that I keep going back to is Product Ideas. I'm putting anything that falls into this category in my Work area, but I see myself using this tag to quickly run down ideas when I finish a project and am ready to consider a new product. I think I'll use the Errand tag so I can quickly search things that need to be done when I'm out & about but that aren't pressing enough to warrant their own trip. I'm hoping this will cut down on my impromptu runs to the library with an overdue book [among other things]. Also, I threw in a Shopping tag for things like, "get new bottle of vanilla." I considered just having these tasks fall under Errands, but my husband does all the shopping. If I forget to let him know we need something when he's on his way, well... let's just say we went without vanilla for a couple of months and hot cocoa is really a whole lot better with vanilla. As is oatmeal. 

*I looked into some other productivity tools/apps/services suggested. I'm intrigued by rescue time. I can see it making a huge impact on my productivity just from an internet standpoint. I'll often get sucked in. In fact, just tonight as I was clearing my bookmarks bar I got sucked into Pinterest briefly and had to pull myself back out. Pinterest just might be the devil. I was hoping one of the listmaker apps would work for an inventory tracker, but as far as I can tell it wouldn't work out that way. I've just realized I could use an inventory tracker for some consignment items I've got in a local boutique and I'm not really sure how to go about working it out. I guess I'll just have to map it on paper and go from there. Anyone have suggestions? 

So... that's it for me. I've finished up the lessons and phases as much as I can without taking the next five years to purge hoarded/backlogged stuff. I'll keep working on that and I'll check back in periodically here with updates. This has been fantastic. Absolutely worth it. 

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