i love me some note cards.
i never leave home with out them. they are the perfect place to record a genius idea, deposit toddler scribbles, and spit out used gum. i wrote all of my school papers, from tenth grade through graduate school, by putting one fact one each note card, arranging them into themed stacks, putting the stacks in order, and settling down in front of my computer in the midst of a veritable note card village. i even wrote my most recent homily this way.
when i started the re[frame] productivity system for creative people a few months ago, it wasn’t so much because i had friends who had successfully completed the program and were happy with the results. nor was the main draw its enticing low price of $42 for six weeks worth of daily emails explaining a detailed process in simple, attainable steps. it was the note cards, folks. i loved the idea of writing one “to do” on each note card and organizing them in a cute little box under headings for each day of the week. so excited was i about the power of this little box and its contents to transform my chaotic world that i diligently worked the note card system for months.
during this time, i returned emails and phone calls promptly, sent school picture money back on time, made headway on long overdue projects (the sewing room reorganization, for example), and developed a regular schedule for household tasks such as doing laundry and making dinner. i was the very picture of productivity. the problem was that i wasn’t feeling very creative anymore.
there was no time to whip up crazy pants for my boys in my newly organized sewing room. i began having visions of things i wanted to paint or cook, but there wasn’t time to bring them to life. i pictured myself (and still do) dropping by amro music of an afternoon, renting a fiddle, and spending “free time” indulging myself and horrifying others with the excruciating cacophony only a beginning fiddler could produce.
so for the last six weeks or so, i have abandoned my dear note cards. we are living in piles of laundry and dirty dishes but the laundry now contains several pairs of fabulous new crazy pants for the kids, and the dirty dishes are the result of creative cooking experiments. i have devoured a few great books (both the for-fun kind and the brain-stimulating kind) but there are an embarrassing number of unread emails in my inbox.
i generally prefer allowing my intuition to guide me from one task to the next. the only problem is that my intuition is not so good at taking care of business. and after a while, it becomes evident that i need things like friends, and clean underwear, and an unsoiled mug for my coffee.
so today, i’m getting back on the re[frame] wagon. i’m returning to the world of note cards. however, instead of attacking every piece of unfinished business in my life the way my dog attacks his breakfast (in an near-violent frenzy), i’m going to take a more measured approach. i have only one goal for the week, and that is cleaning out the bird’s closet. i know there must be clothes to fit this child in there somewhere!
is there any way to be both productive and creative at the same time? or is this particular brand of balance just another part of a mother’s quest for pie-in-the-sky equanimity? i think i’ll just write these questions on note cards and carry them around in my purse.