Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brain Book

Let's start with what a BRAIN BOOK is NOT.

It is not a:

~  To-Do List
~  Daily Planner
~  Calendar
~  The same for everyone
~  A rigid system
~  Expensive
~  Something that can be done online or with a smart-phone
~  A place to organize large quantities of paperwork. It's not a long-term filing system. I don't house recipes, bill statements, or my children's pieces of homework or art in this binder.

On Wednesday, as I picked up Zane from school, I noticed the kids filing out holding small items that they had obviously purchased at the Santa's Workshop: a craft store with items ranging from $.25-$5.00. A school sponsored event where kids can do their Christmas shopping for family members.

I remembered the paper coming home about it. Noted the date on my calendar. But could not for the life of me remember an envelope coming home on which Zane could write his shopping list and store his money, (as they've done in the past) and thus, wrongly assumed it would come home on another day with a reminder about the event.

I blew it. The envelope had been attached to that initial handout. I guess.

Zane had tried to remind me the night before that it was happening the next day, but as I didn't have the envelope, I just figured . . . well, I figured wrong. Oddly enough, I didn't even check my calendar, which is very revealing.

Clutter. Papers on my secretary desk in the living room. Papers in my office. Papers in the basket on the dining room buffet.

Too many papers. Too many locations.

I removed some emotional clutter from my life over these past two weeks by choosing to limit myself from getting caught up in Facebook chatter on my personal wall. Instead, I've been focusing on my Fit with Jo page, my Coaches, and my accountability group. I still post my blogs, and the blogs of friends, but I really sensed that part of my clutter, was the presence of too many voices. Too much input. Senseless, mindless, time/energy/spirit-sucking chatter.

Now, it was time to remove the tangible clutter that was clouding my thoughts and wasting my time. The,

"Where is that paper?"
"Where did I put Zane's site words for the week?"
"Where is Harper's basketball schedule?"

We waste so much looking for stuff that should already have a home.

Enter. The BRAIN BOOK.

What it is:

~  A simple 3-ring binder.
~  Pocket dividers with categories written on the tabs.
~  Cheap
~  A place to organize minimal paperwork. Items that need be readily available.
~  Customizable: mine will not look like yours.
~  Mobile. Can be carried from room to room.
~  Ever-changing. Papers are not there to be filed for good. Think short-term filing. Papers go in and go out. Categories can be changed as the seasons of life change.

I made my BRAIN BOOK yesterday morning. One would be tempted to start by writing out categories, but let me encourage you to start by sorting every piece of paper that is stacked up in various locations in your home. Once sorted you will know what categories you need to make. The pieces that do NOT fit a category can go in to long-term filing.  Thus, I have a file cabinet for items I do not need to see everyday, and a BRAIN BOOK, for the items I do.

The kicker?

IT NEEDS TO BE CHECKED.

DAILY.

Enter, the "Daily/Urgent" category pocket.

The other categories? Completely up to you. Mine are Daily/Urgent, Pay, George, Harper, Zane, Purchase, Coupons (which then get moved to my coupon book), Beachbody, Mom to Mom, Write, Contacts, Personal/Keep.

The BRAIN BOOK is something that should be at your fingertips. It is the first point of contact. The "go-to". The "you'll find it in there."

Clutter can by paralyzing.

The BRAIN BOOK gets me moving!