Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Making the Most of My Mind Palace


 If you've seen Sherlock, you know all about how he uses his "mind palace" to sort through all the data he has swimming in his head. He sorts and creates order to solve the problem at hand. When other's aren't grasping the connection, he has comments like, "What is it like to live in your world?" As much as I lament about my disorganization of clutter and stuff, on the work front and day to day life necessities, I am anything but disorganized. I pride myself on not missing deadlines and thinking ahead to what needs to happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. While I am no Sherlock, I do think I have an internal filing system in my head. I get random texts and e-mails from people who know I'll know the answer to what they are trying to come up with. DH rarely bothered even trying to know details of our family schedule and just asks for a quick run down from me each morning. 

Unfortunately, it was one of the factors that ultimately caused my burn out at my last job.  I was so good at keeping so much in my head; project details, facts, order, others tended to let me take the lead, and the responsibility, for too much. It also causes me to lose patience with people, DH in particular, when I feel like they should know things, but rely on me to fill in the gaps. 

It's hard to change my internal system and translate what's in my head externally so I don't stay in this cycle. I'm making efforts though. I came into a  my current job to lead a project that did not have a direct overseer, each individual working on it had their own set of documents, notes, and forms. I spent the first five months trying to figure out who had what information I needed to pull all the pieces together. I got a taste of how frustrating it must have been for others to not know what I had in my head, so found it easier to just defer to me. I am striving to keep a more accessible system, documenting action items, methodology, planning time lines, anything that someone in my absence would be able to pick up, and while maybe not run with, be able to make meaning of it. The unfortunate thing is like the clutter in my home, I feel like I have a cluttered electronic filing system, but it will get better. 

At home, paper calendars didn't work very well. I'm combining technology with old school strategies to keep the rest of the family informed. I dump the weeks schedule onto a sheet of paper, and stick it on the middle of the refrigerator door. Not attractive, but it works. I've been sending my husband e-mails with the same information so he has accessible at work, and for DD#2, I send to her school e-mail. It's working, and even better, they are both adding things themselves to the list on the fridge, and e-mailing me things to remember (as if I could have forgotten.) Bad habits are hard to break, and my enabling of those around me to not figure things out on their own, has been a hard one to break.  

I'll always have a tendency to keep things in my head, both meaningful and trivial. I like order and control, probably part of why I often wake with multiple thoughts and issues swirling in my brain. However, I've finally found there is no virtue in being the sole keeper.

11 comments:

  1. I like the idea of sharing calendars. My systems of organisation revolve as far as possible in keeping everything within the confines of Google electronic systems and doing away with all paper apart from one big A4 diary for rough work notes. I don't think any one system would work for all of us. We have to work out what works best individually. x

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    1. DH is not very comfortable with technology-e-mail was huge for him. Shared files has really helped at work-now I need a better organization system and some purging and archiving old docs that are irrelevant. I am back to carrying a notebook as well-jotting down things to transfer onto the fridge list, so I don't have to feel like I won all the information.

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  2. Big lesson!
    I too know all the birthdays etc.
    We had a calendar growing up for all the appointments so Mum knew how many would be in for dinner.
    Not quite up to that yet in our family and we now have our main meal at lunch time...yippee!
    Wishing you well in your changing habits. Xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. It should be easier with only three of us, but my youngest has a schedule that would rival a family with three kids at home. I need her to be the curator of her schedule-youngest child syndrome, perpetuated by mom I guess.

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  3. Becky got tired of remembering for the both of us, so we use google spreadsheets, so no matter where we are we can access it. This is particularly helpful when making future appointments so i don't double book us for anything.

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    1. That would never happen-DH won't schedule anything without confirming with me first. My control tendencies have taken any spontaneity out of an out the blue outing, planned by him. Great piece yesterday-very fun to read about the Taste of Opera.

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  4. This post made so much sense to me. I feel as if I have 5 open tabs in my brain at all times.
    I have always kept a calendar on the side of the frig and it has everything on it. Plus I keep a notebook on the counter of my daily things that I need to do. I text the plans to whoever is in the loop that day. So I operate mostly old school. The funny thing is I have kept a list of things that need to be done since I was in 3rd grade. No one told me to do it, I just did.

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    1. A notebook on the counter would be good, but then it would get covered with clutter. (I am s mess.)

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  5. I remember very well when my four kids were still at school. I had embarked on my midwifery training at the time and had split from their father. I do not know how I managed to juggle everything but somehow we just do in whatever way makes life easier for us. I don't know if you are into meditation Sam but it helps/ helped me to calm the incessant chatter going on in my head.

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    1. Meditation comes up frequently in recommendation for me to add some calmness to my life. Blocking everything out of my mind sound wonderful, but I would have to work really hard to do so. I wake up each morning and do a good think-not the same at all as meditation.A coworker who is retiring in June just was certified as a yoga instructor and meditation facilitator. This is going to be her retirement career and she has done some sessions at lunch. I may have to give her some practice.

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  6. Wow what a fabulous retirement career I'm in awe. I love yoga and meditation and it's really not that complicated.

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