26 January 2011

Organizing Thoughts~Part 1

Image courtesy of karenswhimsy.com

Where do you keep your thoughts?

Odd question?
Ok, I admit it, I'm odd.
But I'm also curious.

Were you born organized?
Does your brain have drawers with neat rows of filing cabinets
filled with perfectly labeled, color coded & alphabetized files
and an smooth, efficient information retrieval system
so's you can locate important thoughts in just a split second?

I was NOT born organized.
Nor was I trained to it.
My thoughts are more like grass clippings coming out of a lawn mower deck--
scattered at great speed to the four winds
to be further dispersed at random.

Before I realized that there might be a better way,
my usual habit was to write my thoughts & notes to myself
on whatever scrap of paper might be lying closest.
Then, once the thought was out of my brain
and not clogging the system  any more,
I could and would churn out more.

All those thoughts and  that multitude of scraps
turned into a mountain of moving paper,
sort of like a pile of leaves blowing in the wind...

Yeah, I wasn't born organized.
Nor was I trained to it.

From past experience,
I've learned that before I worry about ordering my thoughts--
first I need a place to keep them!

I think the professionals call that containerizing?

Somewhere a few years back,
I read yet another "Get Organized Quick" book
(hoping, of course, to find the "magic pill" or at least a quick cure)
and came across the concept of using a simple spiral bound notebook
as a log to keep all telephone messages in.
I tried it and liked it!
All those phone notes and information were in one place.

A 15 cent solution  at the August
back-to-school sale at my local W--mart.

As I've experimented over the years with different day-planning
and organizing systems,
I keep coming back to that simple idea--it works for me.
I've had to learn to discipline myself to the habit
of writing my thoughts--notes, lists, information from the day,
addresses, phone numbers, etc, ad nauseum--
into this notebook so I now know where to find my thoughts!

So far, I've used about three different kinds of these notebooks,
including the type above.
A couple of years ago I created my own spiral-bound day-planner.
The pages were drafted on my home computer
and I then went to a copy shop and had the pages
reproduced and spiral bound.

Now, I'm using a day-planner that I bought off the shelf
which looks like this:

Month at a glance dividers
One page per day for each day of the month.
 I'm finding that it suits my needs pretty well at present.
I have a place to keep track of appointments as they arise
and plenty of room to scratch my random thoughts and lists down.
And, spiral bound to keep those thoughts all together in one place,
which is important because I carry this black book with me everywhere I go:
from room to room in the house as I move through my tasks for the day,
to town and appointments (my lists are in there!) and when I travel.
It helps so much to have all those jottings are in one place.

This book is the tool I use to contain my thoughts.

(Next I'll think about organizing those thoughts.)

How and where do you keep your thoughts?
What works for you


  1. Missuz C,

    I'm impressed by the fact that you take the time to write-out all your thoughts in a notebook to help you keep track of them. I don't think that I could do this. It would drive me a bit batty. I actually haven't tried this idea, but I feel it would be cumbersome for me.

    I am a fairly organized person, so most thoughts stay within the recesses of my mind quite well. Sometimes, this means thought I don't really want to retain as well. I think the challenge for me is keeping the thoughts I need, and tossing the ones that don't help me very much.

    -Lady Rose

  2. Lady Rose,

    My, but I'm trying to NOT envy you your well organized mind! :D I think it is fascinating how much diversity there is in the way human brains function.

    For the record, I must admit that I don't write down EVERY thought I have---oh my, that would be impossible! It is just the important ones that I want to keep track of, the ones that keep nagging at me, or that get lost if I dont write them down.

    {{{{Sometimes, this means thought I don't really want to retain as well. I think the challenge for me is keeping the thoughts I need, and tossing the ones that don't help me very much.}}}} So very true. Isn't it interesting that we can have "clutter" in our thoughts, too?
    We must constantly be evaluating our thoughts and purging the ones that no longer are of value to us, just like we do the "things" in our lives.

    Thank you for taking time to stop by and share your thoughts. You are a blessing.