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.