Monday, May 12, 2014

{Happy Monday} Categorizing

Are you an abstract or concrete type of person?  Personally, I'm abstract.  I love to think, to come up with new ideas, and to turn things around in my head until they fit together.  As a child in elementary school the spacial aptitude tests that showed a 3D shape and asked you what it would look like if you turned it "upside down once and then twice to the left" were my delight.  My nemesis, however, was the "What do these items have in common?" type questions.  And it wasn't that I couldn't tell if they had anything in common... oh no!  They had all too much in common!  While another child might look at the picture of three animals and say... "These are all animals."  I would look and say... "Well, these all breathe air, and have some sort of hair.  They all have eyes and noses.  It can't be the type of feet, because some have paws and some have hooves...  but which of the others are they looking for????"  Honestly, sometimes I thought I would be sick trying to figure it out!  Unfortunately, I still struggle with categories to this day, as you might be able to tell if you look at the list of files on my computer.  Because I'm not sure which category to use, I seldom use one at all, and end up being EXTREMELY grateful for the "word search" feature on my Mac. :)

We interrupt today's blog post for a disclaimer...   If the above examples don't resonate with you, you will probably not understand the rest of this post.  As I was explaining my findings to my very practical daughter she looked at me and said, "That sounds very overwhelming".  The details that I share in the rest of the post that are helping me tremendously are steps that she skips in her naturally organized mind.  But, I'm sure that SOME of you are like me, and struggle as I do, so the rest of this post is for us, ok??

To resume... : )

But I think I've found the key for me, that will help me in this and so many other areas!  It's a simple three word question...

"What is this?"

When I first read this suggestion a few weeks ago, I almost laughed, it seemed so absurd.  "Well, obviously, it is a coffee cup!"  But then it hit me.  That's it!  It is a coffee cup!  Is it full?  No.  So where does it belong?  In the kitchen - not on my desk!  And I take it to the kitchen and put it in the dishwasher.  By asking myself a simple, obvious, question, I can begin to categorize objects, paper, computer files and even tasks, and process what to do with them next.  

Let's do a few more...

What is this?  It is a computer file.  Do I need to save it?  Yes  What part of my life is it about? GraceWorks  When? May, 2014  Which product?  The Home Journal

Do you see how I've given myself a path to follow and a succession of folders to make on my computer??  And if my answer to "saving it" had been "no", I could have deleted it on the spot.

Here's another...

What is this?  It is a graduation announcement  Am I attending?  No  Am I sending a card/gift?  Yes  Where should I write this?  On the keeper page in my planner, as well as jotting down a reminder to RSVP, if I'm not able to do it immediately.

If I had been attending the graduation, I would have also written the date on my calendar, and if I hadn't been interested at all I could have thrown the invitation away after sending my regrets.

Follow up questions can include the familiar list of who, what when, where, why and how, as well as other more specific questions like Should I keep this? when looking at a skirt in our closet or Can I afford this purchase? when processing a craft store sale flyer.  How detailed your categories are is up to you.  As for me, I'm excited just to tell myself "It's a notebook" and to know that it goes with the other notebooks on the shelf! : )  Hmmm....  Perhaps decluttering the notebook shelf may have to go on my list next!  LOL!

Thanks for listening to me ramble.  I hope that idea will help some of you, just as it has helped me! 




Today's Happy Monday prompt...

I am thankful for my Mother because...

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