I talked about self-help books last week. I even mentioned the book in question was Organize Tomorrow Today. In case anyone cares, I have been following that trait of its eight since Cinco de Mayo (that famous Mexican memorial to the sinking of the Titanic). Last week I was successful a whole 43% of the time by the grading system I created.
Being organized, as a general thing, is at the heart of a lot of self-help book. Getting Things Done is all about organization. My sister, whose life functions better than mine in a lot of ways, is more organized than me.
In fact, she can be a bit anal. The woman rotates Sharpies in her supply drawer as she uses them.
There is one bit or organization she uses I really keep saying I want to do. She’s a big meal planner. With five kids and two full time adults, one of whom is working on a Ph.D., I think they would not survive without it. It would, however, save me a lot of money.
So, last night I needed to cook some pork shoulder steaks I picked up over the weekend from the manager’s special section of the meat case at Kroger. Doing what I often do these days when figuring I what to cook I checked out the Food Wishes channel on YouTube. For quick and easy pork chops I found Chef John’s [smothered pork chops][chops](blog post). I actually had all the ingredients, even the buttermilk which I normally don’t have.
They were quick and easy and tasty.
How does this relate to being organized?
I had everything in place in the house. I like them. They were simple, if not exactly quick with ten minutes of browning, fifteen of caramelizing onions, fifteen simmering the sauce, and ten minutes cooking everything through. Instead of rice Chef John used, I ate them with mashed pre-made mashed potatoes, also from the manager’s special section. I actually bought three large cartons and three or four two packs of single serve mashed potatoes.
Now, I’m not going to stock up on pre-made mashed potatoes. Keeping thicker bone in pork chops in units of four, however, seems like a good idea. I think maybe I’m just going to put on the fridge a generic weekly schedule of dinners with those on for Monday.
It’s not a full meal plan, but it is a start.
In a similar vein I have been reading, and listening to on Audible, Chris Fox’s book 5,000 Words an Hour. Now, my words per hour aren’t moving much. For one thing, I haven’t been very good about building a tortoise enclosure to ensure my writing time and space. I’m still in the 2,000 to 3,000 range. These blog posts are more the later and fiction is closer to the former.
One thing he does that has helped my writing process is planning your writing. This isn’t outlining in the traditional sense. It is simply writing out a couple of line description of what is in the words you are about to write this minute. For example, here are my notes on a writing sprint this morning:
Continue war council:
– Other is clockwise from North
– Reports of the Empire
– Go West?
Now, that might not look like much, but that got over 800 words written in two sprints, one of 15 minutes and one of 10 minutes. The war council scene isn’t finished, but I knew what the parts would be.
Like the knowing what Monday’s dinner is unless a specific choice is made otherwise it isn’t a big move.
But it does make life easier.
I thought until my thirties getting organized was for other people because who needs it. In my forties I decided I needed it, but I wasn’t the kind of person who did it because I kept failing at it.
Yet, I’m trying again. Because if I want to “retire” to a life of writing at 59 and a half I need it.
Anything but the typical life does.