How Do YOU Organize Your Life?

My husband’s desk is always neat and clean, with maybe one or two stacks of things “to do.” You can see him in the picture, and a desk that is pretty clean. All that is on his desk is a monthly calendar, the book on Egypt’s Nefertiti he is currently reading, a book by C.S.Lewis that he keeps trying to read but is really not very interested in, but he feels he should read it because his son recommended it to him. Also, there is the TV remote, ONE pencil, another calendar, 2013, smaller, that our granddaughter gave him for the holidays, with photos of family on each month’s page, a pen set, an address book that is open to the page with the phone number of a friend he is trying to reach. My husband is 86; this friend he is trying to reach has been his friend since elementary school! Imagine! There is also a small stack of bills that he is planning to pay January 2. Oh, also a telephone and electric pencil sharpener. That’s it!

My desk, on the other hand, seems to be always out of control. I can spend a couple of hours each day organizing bits and pieces and filing them away, but still there seems to be a large pile I did not get to, still sitting there. I guess I “take on” more things to do than I can efficiently handle.

For example right now, on my desk, here are some of the items:

My camera. My camera is not in the picture I took, of course, because I was using it. But recently a friend at English Club, Junko, asked me to participate in a group song about New Years. Hmmm. I am really a pretty bad singer. But I agreed to try, and recorded myself over and over until it was at least acceptable. It turns out that I used the audioboo.fm website for my recording, and I don’t know how to change that to an .mp3 file, which is what they need. Darn. I didn’t realize. Well, she thinks Rajesh might be able to figure out a way to make it work (he did!). Since then I purchased a “Pro” copy of Quickbooks so I could use that program for this task when they ask me again. They will love my voice sooo much, they are sure to ask me again! And she also asked that I might provide a picture to go with the stanza that I recorded. I didn’t have anything I thought appropriate for the topic, so I wrote a phrase on a whiteboard in several colors of dry-erase-ink and photographed that. I don’t know if they will use that in the video they are making from the stanzas we sang (they did). I might see the end result today, and then I’ll find out. But really, except for this blog, I am finished with the camera and really should put it away. They HAVE finished the video, here is the link: http://my.englishclub.com/profile/Junko?xg_source=activity

A stapler and scotch tape dispenser. I use these often, especially the stapler.

A coffee cup with cooling coffee in it.

Headphones with mike, not in use at the moment.

More pens, pencils, and highlighters than I can actually use. Why don’t I just put most of them away? Why do I need TWO ink pens close by, or THREE pencils, one with a broken tip? Ha ha. Guess I’ll stop writing this blog for a minute to take care of that little piece of clutter.  Done.

A gift card from a relative for Barnes & Noble bookstore. OK, OK, guess I could put that in my purse right now, too. Oh, probably I will use it online, so I’d better keep it on my desk so it is ready when I need it.

My computer. My computer is my “life,” nearly everything I do revolves around my computer and the internet. Currently I have an iMac all-in-one, there is no tower sitting under the desk somewhere, all the parts are inside the monitor. On the screen in this photo is English Club Sweety’s picture of her desk, which inspired me to write this blog. (This blog which is already waaaay to long, and I seem to be just getting started….).

A wireless mouse, and peeking up from behind the large stack of papers is the transmitter for the mouse. You probably can’t really see the transmitter in the picture.

Out of sight, to the left, a digital photo frame. This was a gift from a daughter, complete with photos of family loaded on it.

Behind my headphones, toward the back of my desk, you can see a green circular piece of cardboard. This is part of my world clock that helps me schedule appointments worldwide for speaking to people on Skype. Recently we had a time change, in October each year we set our clocks backward 1 hour as part of “Daylight Savings” time. Well, when we did that, it didn’t occur to me that the REST of the world didn’t also do that! And I found myself missing appointments that I had made, always 1 hour off. I finally figured out why, and made a handheld clock in two pieces, for myself. The stationary piece is an 11 x 8 ½ piece of paper taped to a firm piece of cardboard. It has a 24-hour clock in the center. Around the edges of it I have listed each country I communicate with in their own time zone, relative to London time (UTC/GMT). The movable piece (the darker green cardboard that shows up in the picture) I place over the stationary clock, and rotate it until the current time in California is showing on the movable disc, and I point that at California on the stationary cardboard. Then I can locate the country I want to talk with on the stationary cardboard, and see what time the movable disc shows. Of course, when our clocks change again in the spring, I’ll have to make a different one again! Yes, yes, I know there are websites with world clocks, and I do use those also, but sometimes having this one nearby is actually easier for me.

Underneath the world clock is a book, Arabic Reading & Writng. I bought it at Amazon.com to go along with a free, self-paced course I am taking at Wiz-IQ online, Arabic 101. I initially became interested in learning Arabic because so many of my Skype contacts, and English Club contacts, are Arabic speakers. Sometimes they would post comments to each other in that language and I became curious. It also has become a bit of a challenge, because the alphabet is so different from the one I already know! The going is slow for me, but I am enjoying it and making steady progress in learning the new alphabet. And a few phrases, too.

Next to that, across the back of my desk, is a stack of about 10 recipes I recently collected from magazines and internet that I want to try and have not yet filed. I am an undisciplined collector of things that I am interested in. I already have collected more recipes than I will ever have time to cook, but, hey, these looked sooo good! I had to keep them. I do the same thing with books. I am ALWAYS reading something, and also listening to another on audio, but still I have accumulated more books than I will live to finish. It must be a genetic fault or something.

Next to the recipes are 3 advertisements for comfortable earphones. I am often listening to someone or something with earphones, and most that I have tried actually hurt my ears, which I guess are on the small size. So I am a “sucker” for products that say they are comfortable. Most really do not turn out to be any more comfortable than the ones I already have, so I have not bought another pair yet. But I am tempted. They SAY they are sooo comfortable!

Now at the front of my desk, near the computer, is a very large stack of paper, a variety of things that I need to deal with eventually. I don’t want to file them yet because I might forget about them and they won’t get done! So here they sit, on my desktop, piling up higher and higher. Some examples of the contents:  An email note to me from one of the other members of the nonprofit board where I am a volunteer. In addition to being an English tutor for them, and a board member, I am responsible for our 2 times a year newsletter, and chairperson for design changes on our website (http://www.piell.org). This email note has some suggestions for a few changes we might consider on our website. It is an old email, and I am pretty sure we have already implemented these changes, but I need to do some checking on the website to see. And I haven’t gotten around to doing that checking yet. So I keep the email handy so I won’t forget to check. Next are some notes I took when meeting with another nonprofit member who is in charge of handling SCRIP, one of our fundraising efforts. In 2013 I will be assuming the SCRIP function from her, and am in process of learning how to do it. Next in the stack are 6 months of 2012 calendar pages. From those pages I need to figure out how many hours I spent preparing lessons and actually tutoring my 3 local students, as well as the travel time involved. Also the amount of administrative time I spent for the nonprofit. We are supposed to turn in our hours every month so the people doing fundraising can quote these volunteer hours to our prospective donors, it helps in convincing them to give us funding. But obviously I’m a bit late in this task. I will finish it before the end of the year, though. Next down in the stack is a document I printed from the internet that has links to other pages about how other teachers are using Skype for teaching. I am always collecting links that will improve my online skills. Next down the stack is a notice from National Geographic magazine on how I should be able to activate their site on my digital e-reader. I have tried to make it work several times and have not been successful. I guess I need to call them to have them help me get it to work. But I keep putting it off…

Off to the left front of my desk is a binder I keep on the lessons I have worked with my 3 local students, and the hours that I have spent with them (as mentioned in the above paragraph). I WILL bring this material up to date within the next 2 days!

So, as you can see if you managed to read this far, I am a bit hopeless. I guess I will start a list of how I can correct these personal failings in 2013! I’ll add the list to the stack…

(grin)

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Comments

  • Thanks for the comments Amal! As I write this, my desk is still just as cluttered as it was when I wrote the blog, lol. And thanks for the language offer! I seem to need to be pushed! Most of last year my Arabic learning gathered dust while I helped English learners, but this year another Skype friend, Mona in Egypt, pushed me into reviving it. She is helping me on a regular basis, I now know the names of all the letters, pronounce MOST of them OK, and can write the main forms, the beginning, middle, and ending forms, and can pronounce them with fatha (probably spelled wrong) dumma or kesrah added. Not much vocabulary yet though, still in kindergarden!

  •  What I really like about you besides your kindness is that you are a gorgeous woman of intellect.You have a full round personality as you are an active book-worm.On the contrary,I like your desk more than that of your loyal husband.It is really vivid .It is wonderful that you are learning Arabic and please ask me whenever you need a help .Arabic is my beloved language and it is my sphere .

    HUSBAND.IT
  • Thanks for the comment bright-rubies! And thanks for the excuse for a messy desk, I think I'll use it~ (grin)

  • How it's wonderful to see both desks! I admire your desk and of course your way in describing your desk. You did it cleverly as we already look at it face to face. Maybe your husband's desk is tidy due to his way in life and thinking. According to me and my husband, always my husband is more organizes than me. Wives always have more things to do, prepare and top manage than husbands. Anyway, excuse me but it's my point of view.

  • Thanks for your nice comments Tawfeeq. Yes, I enjoy learning about ALL other cultures! Muslim cultures I have visited include Morocco, Egypt, Iran, India (parts of it), Malaysia, and Indonesia. My husband lived in Iran for 2 years just before the revolution, with his previous wife and 2 youngest children, so it was an easy trip for us in 2000 because his former landlord in Tehran was still living there! We've been lucky to have traveled to many countries while we were still working.

  • Well ,let me say ,I admire your husband for his truthful . Wow, how he is a kind person! A man can keep his friendship with his old friend all that period , he has been his friend since elementary school!
    Many people can’t keep their relationship as they are changeable .
    The second point that he is interested with middles east culture. He reads about Egypt’s Nefertiti .that is amazing for a man so far from this place .
    His desk is well-arranged .
    You have mentioned above that (Underneath the world clock is a book, Arabic Reading & Writng)
    When I read this sentence ,I remember a thing .
    Once , I have seen very nice pictures of you in EC , which have been taken in Iran .Then, I asked you about them and you gave very interesting information I concluded at that time that you liked our people and region .
    Today this sentence confirms my an old impression about you . You like our region and people .That is why you try to learn Arabic, though it is very difficult language .
    You say “I ALWAYS reading something, and also listening to another on audio, but still I have accumulated more books than I will live to finish. It must be a genetic fault or something.”
    Seemingly , you and me have the same genetic fault..I am just like you dear, I have accumulated more books than I will live to finish . hahahah
    I would say, you are so loveable one here.
    Thank you very much for sharing us your nice writing .

  • Anele, glad you enjoyed it. And yes, my husband IS much neater than I. He prides himself on being a long-range planner and engineer!

    Junco, yes, I'd do it again, but maybe a little more advance notice! (grin)

  • Nida:  Thanks for the comments, and yes, it WAS tooooo long! I'll do better in the future! The photo at the top shows my desktop in the foreground, with the coffee cup sitting on top. My husband's desk is in the background. Sweety's desk is showing on my computer screen!

    Junco: Yes, you have seen my desk before! And thanks for the encouraging comments about my ability to organize it, I'll try to live up to them in 2013! Also thanks for inviting me to particpate in the New Year song, I was a bit afraid but took the "plunge" and had fun with it.

  • This is a long yet very amusing blog, Dear Beverly. I enjoyed reading it a lot.

    I've always heard that females are usually more organized than males, but looks like situation is completely opposite in yours and your husband's case. :D

    Btw, I can't see photos of yours and Sweety's desks. Weren't they supposed to be a part of above blog? While reading I felt as if you were describing those invisible photos.

    I wish you a very happy new year and I hope that you'd succeed in organizing your desk in 2013.

    Thanks a lot for such an interesting blog and I'm so looking forward to read more blogs of this kind from you. 

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