Monday Musings: The 5 Ss--Stay the Course

It's the last of our Monday Musings in the 5S series, with thanks to Wegmans for the fodder. This one is sort of a wrap-up "S," to be sure: "Stay the Course." In other words, keep doing everything you've been doing for the last several weeks. 

I remember once hearing someone talking about weight loss efforts--they made the comment that we all mistakenly behave as if we have to cut calories rigorously and exercise the heck out of ourselves until we've reached our weight goals, and then somehow magically we'll be able to resume our old habits again while staying at the same weight. Well, of course, we know it doesn't work that way. To be successful at losing weight, one needs to embrace new habits that will last a life-time.

The same is true with keeping our quilt studio ready for us to run in with a sudden burst of inspiration and be able to actually accomplish something because we don't have to waste 20 minutes clearing off a surface or trying to find our rotary cutter.

It's a habit that needs to be developed, and it will always require a certain amount of effort and intention. Some of us are more naturally inclined towards organization than others (I remember watching my two-year-old son line up his Matchbox cars in neat little rows, although now that he's 24 I'm not convinced his apartment benefits from the same attention). However, even those of us who have a natural bent for it have lazy days, or get busy, or have the one room or set of drawers or closet that seems to capture all the chaos and disorder we've driven from the rest of the house.

Don't look in my bedroom closet right now. 

I know I have problems, like most people, getting into different habits. If something hasn't been in my consciousness for the last several years, it's unlikely to keep naturally appearing in my consciousness just because I want it to, or I know it would be good for me. I have to send myself constant reminders of this new habit I'm trying to develop. Lately, as you may recall, I've been working on upgrading my ability to track the myriad tasks I'm juggling between work and personal life, so that when I add school into the mix in a few months it doesn't all come crashing down like a house of cards. I'm working on developing some new task-tracking habits recommended in David Allen's Getting Things Done, such as doing a weekly review of all my projects, looking over my "waiting for someone" file every couple of days, and filing newsletters and such into a "read and review" file for those times I'm mentally fried but have a few minutes to kill. However, rather than trusting myself to remember I even have a "read and review" file or "waiting on someone" file, I added recurring tasks to my list: "Check Read and Review file," and "Review Waiting on Someone File." Usually I think about how much I've turned into my Mom, but in this instance, I've definitely become my Dad. We used to joke that if he didn't have us written down in his notebook, he'd forget he even had kids. He wrote everything down and checked his notebook several times a day. I've become the same way, although I rely on my digital version of Dad's notebook, my smartphone. If I don't write something down, I can nearly guarantee it won't get done. Once it's in my task list, I know I'll do it--even if I move it around a few times before it finally gets done.

And yes, I even have a recurring task: "Check your task list." Ahem. There's a reason for that one that we needn't get into just now.

  My stash when I first set up this shelving system. It doesn't look all that different now 10 years later. In fact, I even still have a lot of those same fabrics!

My stash when I first set up this shelving system. It doesn't look all that different now 10 years later. In fact, I even still have a lot of those same fabrics!

Consequently, in terms of my quilt life, I've worked hard over the years to set myself up for organizational success in my quilt studio. I'm at probably 95% on the "everything has a place"-o-meter. IOW, things have a place where they belong, where it's easy to locate them, use them, and then put them away again to be easily found again next time. That being said, I can only stay at that 95% if I keep paying attention, if I stay the course. 

I still have some work to do on my bookshelves--they tend to get overrun and need their own little purging ceremony about once a year. But that's for another blog post.

This ends our 5S series. Anything in particular that's been useful or meaningful to you? Any new habit you've decided you need to develop? Anything else you'd like me to muse about? I've enjoyed reading your "talk-back"--your own thinking on this topic. In fact, the response to these posts has made me decide I'm going to keep going with Monday Musings for awhile, although not always focused on organization. I haven't really thought that far ahead. The task "plan Monday Musings" doesn't show up on my task list for another couple of days yet.