Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Very Organized Life

So many people ask me how I do all that I do.  Well, this is my secret - my calendars - plain and simple.  I am an organizing, list making, calendar maniac.  And the other secret?  I am grateful.  Grateful for this big, full, busy life.  It may get tiring at times, but it is what I have always wanted since I was a little girl. 

ALL of my calendars in one place
The above photo is what my desk looks like if I am sitting straight ahead in my chair in my home office.  That is command central for my life.  My main calendar is an "academic" calendar which means it runs on a school year.  I always feel like that is the social season calendar, too, so I have used that one for years.  It is broken down into one week at a time and that way I can see what is going on all week.  At the beginning of each month is the total month with spaces large enough to write my main appointments on and then I transfer them to the daily week calendar at the end of the previous week.  My entire life - home, family, work, volunteer - is on that one calendar. 

At the front of the calendar I keep all my goals for the year on sticky notes.  Each sticky note (the larger size) has a different category.  For instance, I have sticky notes for life goals, yearly goals, what ball gowns I am going to wear to each event during the upcoming season, what my wardrobe/accessory shopping needs are for the season, trips I want to take, blog ideas, book ideas, marketing/branding plan, etc.  I have them all in a logical manner over four pages.  I refer to this area of my calendar often so I keep on track of the big picture.

The little pink post it notes sitting on my calendar is what I use for my daily list when I have outside appointments.  I start the list with what time I need to eat breakfast, start to get ready, leave the house and then my appointments/errands in order.  When I leave for the day, I take it and stick the note on my dashboard, so all I have to do when I am driving is to glance down to see where I need to go next.  A good friend of mine used to kid me about how much information I could put on a tiny post it note! 

The papers with the black clip on them are forms I use to record information for each event when doing my SCENE column.  That's laying on my calendar because it is the first thing I need to work on today. 

The red calendar sitting above my big desk calendar is my editorial calendar for my blog.  I like to keep that all in one place so I can see what needs to be done and what the flow is.  The black calendar beside it has an hour by hour appointment line for each day of one week.  I use that specifically for scheduling all my special issue appointments for SCENE.  Some days I can have up to ten appointments in one day.

Then comes my bulletin board.  The four colorful cards on the bottom are just my "pretty calendar" that is from Four Seasons Publishing.  Each card is a month.  I keep four months up at a time just to enjoy the pictures, which are all paintings by Peter Rolfe.  A friend bought these for me probably 15 years ago and now each year I order a new set. 

Above that are all my invitations for upcoming events.  I just enjoy looking at them and feeling so thankful for my full and interesting social life.  I remember the first time, over 20 years ago, that I received my first invitation to a charity luncheon.  You can't believe how excited I was!  I remember the first person who asked me to sit at her table for an event - it was my good friend, Julie Riddell, who is still to this day one of my closest friends. 

Ever since I was a little girl living in a small rural town of 1200 in Michigan, I have always wanted just the life I have right now.  I have told this story many times, but it is still true.  I remember being a young girl, probably 11 or 12, shopping with my mother in Lansing at Meijers, which was Michigan's version of Wal-mart in the late 1960s.  She would grocery shop and I would stand at the magazine racks and drool over Town and Country magazine.  Even at that young age I loved looking at the social photos.  I could not wait until I was old enough to wear a cocktail suit and a ball gown!  I thought they were the  most glamorous things!  I wanted to live the social life I saw in that magazine and now I basically do.  The only way I knew about "society" was from that magazine and it trained me well.

So that's my story.  I am grateful to be able to do all the things I do.  I am grateful that I get to write my SCENE social column and my Civilized Life blog and attend so many fabulous events with my friends.  I can be a wife, mom, grandmother, friend, writer, special issues director, volunteer board member and committee chair.  I am glad that I can keep so many balls in the air and I do it all with the guidance and grace of my calendar.  It is surprising all you can fit into a day when you are organized! 

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