Doing It My Way

Photo by Anete Lusina on

I have to stay organized or I completely fall apart. My students almost always discovered that if they moved my pen or shuffled my class notes I would become a mess until I sorted things out. This was often their way of get a slight reprieve from instructions in mathematics every once in awhile. I usually just laughed it off and recovered my composure as quickly as possible.

I’m somewhat old fashioned in the way I keep track of things that I must do. I still make pencil and paper lists to carry to the grocery store. I scratch off items after I have place them in my shopping cart. My husband rolls his eyes at my way of doing things as though I am carrying a slate tablet along with a hammer and chisel. His whole world is on his phone and computer. He uses all kinds of apps to get things done. He can’t imagine why I need actual paper anymore. 

I do type up “to do” lists and save them on my desktop. I delete tasks once I have completed them. I also keep an electronic calendar that reminds me where and when I am supposed to be somewhere. It works well as long as I think to actually check it once each morning. Mostly I follow a routine, so there is very little that I have to be reminded to do. 

My husband almost always uses an app for directions, even to places he has been to hundreds of times. When I ask him why he would do that he claims that he is getting traffic updates and learning when to change his route to avoid delays. That sort of thing drives me crazy so I often end up sitting in standstill traffic cooling my heels. I’m just not that into up to the minute technology for navigating around town. Such things remind me too much of stringent lesson planning rules or those ideas for taking good notes in a college class that teachers sometimes made me follow. I have my own ways that seem to have worked well for me and my temperament even if I do drop the ball once in a blue moon. 

My husband was a banker and I suppose his management tasks required him to be more on the money if you will, than my job of creatively inspiring students to enjoy learning about mathematics. I was more inclined to punt when I saw their eyes glaze over. Being tied down to an ironclad plan rarely worked for me. 

The same was true when I mentored and supported teachers. Each of them was an individual with differing skills. I quickly learned that some of them were as devoted to organization as my husband and I treated their need for step by step guidelines with deep respect. Others had everything under control in their heads. I understood that I could always count on them to get their jobs done magnificently without the minutiae of complex planning. I learned to adapt to a panoply of needs rather than any one way of doing things. 

My house is a kind of mirage. Everything in view appears to be very carefully placed because it is. Rarely is their a feeling of chaos in my rooms, but behind the closed doors of some of my cabinets and closets is a hidden world of utter disorder. My junk drawer might win first prize for the most disarrayed accumulation of worthless items on the planet, but my countertops are spotlessly clean and uncluttered. In fact I drive my husband a bit batty because he seems to think that I should have more items sitting ready to be used rather than stuffed away behind closed doors. 

The funny thing is that I know people who are just the opposite. I might open any enclosed space in their homes and find an organized system worthy of the container store. At the same time they feature an array of items seemingly thrown randomly into corners of rooms and on the surfaces of tables and counters. While I would go crazy with all of the visible mess, they would faint at the thought of some of my closets.

I had a friend who kept everything in perfect order save for one room in her home that nobody ever entered. She once revealed it to me and it was a jumble unlike anything I have ever seen. She laughed at my shocked expression and gave me a tour to demonstrate how she knew exactly where to find whatever she wanted. In the meantime. it was a better storage space that a hot attic and nobody ever needed to see it unless she chose to let them in on her secret. 

I have often found that a person’s organizational bent corresponds with their talents and skills. Accountants are generally quite systematic and linear while highly creative souls often seem not to follow any strict guidelines in their lives. I suppose we need all kinds of skills in this world and it would be really boring if we were all automatons who robotically behaved alike. 

I get things done on time and in good order so I don’t think it matters whether I do so with old school paper and pencil or technology. My home is clean even if it has some junky spaces. I consider myself to be organized in my own way so it really should not matter that much to anyone else how I get there. I’ve gotten pretty far doing it my way. I don’t see much point in changing things now but I might take time to clean out that junk draw because I’m having a difficult time finding anything in there.. 


One thought on “Doing It My Way

  1. Strange, I hate using my phone for directions. I want to know where I am going ahead of time regardless of traffic and I also use pen and paper for the grocery store. Though I use me phone for everything else…especially if I text a family member…I freak out if they don’t text me back right away…they are in a ditch somewhere….the evils of cell phones.


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