April 27, 2010

How to Be Highly Ineffective

You guys!  Ooooh you guys! I am usually so organized!   

Really, organization is one of my favorite things.  I have so many systems in my life and my house that for the most part my life runs fairly seamlessly.  But sometimes I can be so dependant on those systems, that if I am doing something that doesn't involve a system, my brain totally wigs out!  Like I basically fail at ad-libbing life!

I can be seriously forgetful sometimes and I will fully admit that it is not my best quality.  I often forget things Garrett has said the day prior and entire conversations that we have.  And it's not just conversations -- sometimes I get in the shower and start shampooing only to think to myself, "Did I already do this?"  Granted, that's before coffee...but you get what I'm saying. Every once in a while though, Garrett will say to me with frustration (and rightfully so), "Holly, next time can you try harder to remember?"  But hell if I have any idea on where to start with that one. 


You guys, am I getting Alzheimer's in my 30s or am I just totally living unconsciously???


So usually I rationalize this behavior because it is just silly, tedious things.  I run to the store for two things, and come home with twenty but forget the two items I actually ran down there for (though obvs for big shops I make lists -- organized by section, mind you!)  or I do stupid things like decide to get gas on the way home after work and then promptly get into my car and drive home without stopping at any of the 10 gas stations I pass on the way and then pull into my driveway and see the little light go on.  Ugh. 

But I do have a calendar so I'm not a total heathen.  If something is important I write it down in a few different places, and I am proud to say I rarely (if ever) completely blow it and miss something I have committed to.   Really I don't.  You are probably finding this hard to believe now that I have basically confessed to walking into a room and forgetting why I am there, but I promise you I'm not a total screw up.  But the issue then becomes -- am I as prepared as I had meant to be for this thing I have (luckily) showed up for, and the answer, sadly, is not always in the way that I would like to be.  And this flaw of mine is starting to take its toll.

Take today for example.  Today I walked into work feeling like it was just any other day, only to open up my calendar and see that tonight is the night I have committed myself to helping cook dinner at St. John's Shelter.  I've told you before that I do this, and I love it although it is a big production what with the grocery shopping, preparing, and serving.  It takes some time is what I'm saying.  But you guys, I almost forgot about this!!!  And do you know what kind of anxiety it induces when you accidentally forget you are sort of HOSTING A DINNER FOR 120 PEOPLE IN A FEW HOURS AND YOU HAVEN'T EVEN THOUGHT ABOUT THE MENU?  AND YOU ARE STUCK AT WORK. 

(Just remembering that gave me heart palpitations.)

So, instead of having an enjoyable lunch break (which was desperately needed since the word rough does not even begin to describe my work day today) I called the Chef and St. John's for some inspiration, went to Costco and bought dinner supplies, drove them all the way back to my house, grabbed a change of clothes more suited to cooking and serving, cancelled on my gym class tonight that I was totally looking forward to, talked Garrett into meeting me after work with the perishables so I could skip out on work as late as possible and still get there by 4:30 (Yes, I have to take off work early to do this.  No I had not asked my boss if that was ok.  Yes I'm sure she was thrilled.) and then headed back to work. 

Sigh.  This was not relaxing. 

And you know what the sad part is.  I totally KNEW I was going to forget this when I signed up for it.  I knew this was a hectic time for me, but volunteered anyway.  I knew that I would write this on my home calendar and then promptly ignore it.  And because I knew I was going to forget, as a last resort I put it on my work calendar, because Lotus Notes absolutely tells me where to go and what to do 8 hours a day 5 days a week, and I wish I were kidding about that.  But seriously...thank god I did that!  But that was a little too close for comfort.  Like I really could have screwed this up and these people who were counting on me would have had a totally different experience.  And I would have had no excuses.

Ugh.  I just hate that feeling.  

I almost really effed some stuff up today and I feel bad about it.  I don't want to be someone who goes through life so unconscious that I make these kinds of screw-ups, but I also have a lot of stuff I want to do and find myself taking things on, and multi-tasking in a way that is not productive sometimes.   But slowing down and "trying harder to remember" are just things that don't come naturally.  But  I need to get this under control.  It's probably no surprise that while writing this I checked my email (because yes I compulsively multi-task even though I hate) but what is surprising is that I found a notice from my Library that a book I put on hold a while back is ready for pick up -- Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I actually reserved it for Garrett because I found it really helpful for me about a decade ago -- but I'm starting to think maybe it's me who needs to give it a second look.  The Universe has a funny way of bringing us exactly what we need when we need it, I think.  I'm just thinking it's just too bad it didn't show up with dinner for 120!

But I guess I probably deserve to be on my own for that one. 


Elizabeth said...

I want to know what you cooked!
Also, I forget everything, which is why I need a list notebook. It's like my brain on a page, seriously.

jen said...

Hi Holly! Funny post. I'm quite forgetful as well. You should read that book but don't forget to return it at the library. :)
You need to get into a habit of making lists, not in your head but actually write it down


HappyJacki said...

I get the frustration of forgetting important things, it happens to me more often than I'd like. But don't be too hard on yourself - you managed to pull it off (albeit stressfully!). Many people would have just bailed and cancelled - give yourself credit for honouring your commitment. Now, light some candles and get into a warm bath!


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