Monday, August 4, 2008

Out of Chaos Comes OM

Yesterday, when I was working at my alternative office which some people call the cafe at Barnes and Noble, I noticed a pattern on one of my calendars. I use iCal and have a printout one month at a time. It's color coded. This was the calendar that is supposed to be my editorial calendar. Sonia Simone told me about them from the Liz Srauss SOBCon she attended in Chicago this past spring. I thought editorial calendars were a pretty nifty idea.

I say supposed to be my editorial calendar because June and July were mostly done after the fact. Yesterday my cafe, er, office time, was totally about getting a grip on using this calendar in advance instead of using it to track what I had done. I had a couple other tasks I wanted to accomplish too. Big ones that I had been putting off. So I packed a location bag. I would not leave until I had finished everything in the bag. Yes, of course I over packed. Doesn't everyone?

I was hoping a change of scenery would be just the thing to help me get it all done. Of course I was there to pick up a few necessities. And yes, of course there were some necessities I did not even know I needed until I saw them. So I gathered the goodies, walked quickly past the new releases. Here to work, here to work. And found a table by the window. I ate my strata and sipped at my latte. Did some people watching.

Okay, enough. Dive into that bag. Get to it, one task at a time. Dave Allen's 2 minutes were handy in handling the loose papers. The labeled files ( also Dave ) gladly accepted my first sort of papers into topics. My handy dandy high-lighter made the sort even easier, ooh rich stuff on some pages. Sort, sort, sort. Don't write, just sort. Highlight to come back to the good stuff. Before I knew it the loose ends were no longer loose. Next the content notebook. It wasn't as functional as I wanted it to be. Some looking, some thinking. Ahh, now a guide is made. This is going great. Had not touched the calendar yet. Sip. Sip.

Okay. Get it out of its file. More looking. More thinking. Sip. Oh look at that woman, she actually reminds me of a flamingo. Sip. Hm. Nice Spanish acoustic guitar music playing, reminds me of some really good times with....THE CALENDAR, helloooo, focus here.

I made a deal with myself. I would just put down the things I was sure of so far. It would be okay to have some blank spaces. Hm. Okay. So I made a few notes on the parts I did know. Made some theme notes on the top and bottom for a general guideline for the month of August. I looked at Fridays. Wrote something in. As I sipped and worked, I noticed something. The tension in my shoulders was leaving. The chaos that was before, if not actually dealt with, was in it's place, neatly tucked into it's slot, or file; the content notebook was looking good. And here on my color coded calendar a message appeared:


On each and every Monday I had written it at the top of the little box. And now here it was staring back at me like a meditation. Om....Organizing Monday. I smiled. That was nothing new. But seeing it like that, OM and repeated, laid out on my self designed, color coded calendar, it looked like something bigger. A regular appointment with myself. And there the reassurance. 3, only 3 at a time. 3 most important things to accomplish each week ( or on a day) is a steady relentless march toward my goals. It's also a time to center. A time to breathe. Be clear. Take note. And that is no small thing.

Imperfect. Imperfect is fine. I left blanks, some room on my editorial calendar. But I smiled. Assured. Happy even, because of OM. I left some things undone yesterday. I had over packed. Was forcing all the issues. Most important tasks this week? Well, you can make your own. But one of mine it is to relax and get only 3 big important things done. After I had packed the work away, put it back into my bag, calendar included, I pulled out my journal. Ideas and writing just flowed. Small steps in the RIGHT direction make all the difference in the world. OM. Yep , it's Organizing Monday. What's up for you this week?


Karen Swim said...

Janice, isn't it cool when we get these little signs just when we need them? Wow, OM. So simple, written there for a different purpose, a different meaning but just when you needed it, it revealed itself to be what you needed. I love it! On my agenda this week is enjoying the summer, laughing, building in breaks. Working but enjoying it so much it feels like play.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Karen ,
It was so funny to see it staring back at me. I love it when those things happpen. Pretty cool that you are up to more breaks, fun with the work. We spend so much time doing it, it really ought to give us a sense of joy.
As a result of just some tweaking here, some adjustment there, some relaxing about the huge learning curve I have been on, I spent this whole day drawing. I knew that I had most everything else covered for now. Good enough for now. So OM is a very good thing.
I hope your summer , what's left of it, is full of wonderful enjoyment. I still think of balloons when I think of you.. so that is not a bad thing at all. :)

ParisBreakfasts said...

What's this iCal?
Boy could I use that!
Have you heard of the War of Art?
About resisting stuff...
I'll know more when I get it.
Om Shanti
I love the idea of taking your stuff to an outside office like B&N!
New environment = new approach.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Hi PB-iCal is a bit of Mac software. It's a nice feature that I like a lot. I happened to pick up the War of Art Sunday to look at. I put it back...not much new there. But then I have used copies of the Art of War so maybe that was it. But I could see how it would be useful. More of a mind over matter thing.
Alternative office is a good thing. :) Really works for me.
Hope Maine was good.

Amy said...

I would like to work at the bookstore cafe, but it would cost me about $100 a day (and that is on a light day). I'm a book fiend, but also every time I go to Borders Bookstore (I don't have a B&N) I buy at least one journal and about ten greeting cards. It's an illness. Plus then there's about $30 in coffee and snacks. LOL

I do work at the train station sometimes. That is safer but way less fun.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Amy- I know, I know. It is dangerous territoty for me too. I have to go in with partial blinders on. Look at the SMALL stack of goodies, not including my snacks and meals. .could not do this every day. Walk away from the books and paper...they had color pencils in a cd case....AHHHHHH...and fish notepads, I blema the Friar for me buying those.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Blame. oops. :)