The Diary of a Control Freak


I’ve always been fairly organised, especially in the workplace. I had colour coded files, work was stamped according to its status, I had a diary and I used Outlook tasks religiously. I could and often did, write out my tasks to the exact step to ensure the work was done by others in the same way. Sounds anal, but I was a temp most often and the employer needed the processes recorded. Also, if I didn’t use diaries and folders, I’d be a complete mental case!

Unfortunately this penchant for anally labelling everything in sight didn’t translate to home. Home was a mess. Bills didn’t get paid on time, I forgot to take meds, forgot to attend appointments or make them in the first place.
When I fell pregnant I needed to bring the ‘at work’ organisation home. Now days, I run stuff fairly well and the kid and the adults know the routine of the house.

The important point to make here, is that having and knowing your standard routine makes you more flexible and able to adjust to changes. On Wednesdays we are out the door by 9am until 11am, on Mondays during the school term we have swimming lessons at 9am. The gym time table changes each week and is never the same, so my work outs could be at 6.45pm if Body Balance is on, or some other time of day at home. The routine blocks out the ‘Dugongs’, the ‘Sacred Cows’, the ‘Protected Species’ – these are the things that happen pretty much at the same time, every day.

If you can know these things by heart and master them, you can work within the routine to create a successful, productive day.

The other key to the double lock of organisational happiness is ‘Eating the Green Frog’. The Green Frog is the task you least want to do today; the most intimidating, hateful thing you need to achieve. For me it’s washing clothes or doing the dishes. I HATE folding washing too. I do not iron. I am shit at it so there is very little point. My time is better spent in the kitchen or on the computer.
So I tell myself I must earn time on the computer by eating my Green Frog jobs. I need to knuckle down and get them done.

This is an important lesson for the 12WBT – there are tasks, requirements, workouts and meals/recipes you might find intimidating and therefore avoid. Here begin the excuses Michelle talks about; I’m too tired, It’s hot, I’m sore from yesterday, I don’t eat ‘keen-wah”, I don’t like tomatoes, I want to eat PIZZA, I’ll just make something from before the program etc.

These things must become your Green Frogs – eat them up and get them out of the way. Then, if you want to sit on your ass for the rest of the day, go for it! At least you will know you did achieve something for the day, you finished all the ‘essential’ jobs and have something to cross off your list.
In time, these Green Frogs might even become Sacred Cows, things you do automatically and without thinking. Things that aren’t so intimidating now you’ve reached a level of mastery with them.

However, while routine is VERY important, it isn’t the silver bullet. You can routine yourself to death, but without some crucial behaviours, you’ll still end up in a mess at the end of the day.

Below is a list of common habits I use to keep myself on the ball:

– Recurring reminders and appointments are set up in my AwesomeNote (or aNote) app on my phone and synced to all my iOS calendars. The calendars are on my phone, my husband’s phone, the iPad and the Mac desktop. Where ever I am, I have a good idea what is on and when. These things include when to take my tablets, when to do the fortnightly budget, when to re-enroll the kid in daycare, when swimming lessons are on.

– I set up a packing list in my iPad. Whenever we go away for a weekend or longer, I check these off so I know I haven’t missed anything.

– My diary sits on the kitchen bench. I’m using an OTi diary this year and it’s working really well! It has a place to include tasks for the day, meal plan, exercise and tasks to complete by the end of the week. Bills or paper reminders, invitations etc go in the diary on the week they apply to for safe keeping.

– Each week I write out my appointments and tasks for the coming 7 days in the diary. It gives me a quick glance plan and I also write out tasks I need to do today or tomorrow, such as washing, call “Bob” or go to the shops.

– When things in the fridge or cupboard run out, we have a note pad pegged to the fridge to record it. On shopping day I make sure those things are on my list.

– Now we get to the REALLY anal part! On my shopping list, I write out the week’s worth of dinners (mon to fri, for example) then all the ingredients I need to buy to make them. I will already have most things in the freezer or panty, but will need extras. I also write my list in sections; bakery, meat, veggies and fruit, then the other items aisle by aisle. NERD!! Anyway, it stops me getting stuff I don’t need and prevents waste.

Finally, the thing that will get you functioning day to day, whether you work in the home or out, for money or love is:

Finish a task before you start another. If you don’t, you will run around like a headless chook and never get to the end of any tasks

Organisation might seem nerdy, time consuming and restrictive but in reality, it is essential to your wellbeing. If your home, workplace, car, even bathroom are cluttered and unorganised, your mind will be too. If your mind is a cluttered, confused mess, your emotions and self esteem will follow suit.
As one thing leads to another, what we are on the inside, we become on the outside. If you feel flat, flustered and hectic, your body will suffer the repucusions.
This is why organising yourself and your life is extremely important – you will benefit from this learning long into your lifetime. So go forth grasshopper, and EAT THAT GREEN FROG!


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