I am a neat freak. If I were to be a Mr Men character I would be Little Miss Organised. I get nicknamed Monica (as in the Friends character) by my boyfriend and am teased at work for all my spreadsheets and colour coding!
But I just couldn’t be any other way. I think I get my habits from my Mum – when I was younger I would giggle at her and her numerous lists, fast forward 10 years and here I am compiling my own list after list after list.
To me I need this form of organisation to help me feel I’m on top of things and although somewhat sad I get so much satisfaction from ticking off something on my ‘to do’ list.
All hell broke loose when we switched from Outlook at work to Gmail. It took me a while but I soon found ways to use labels like folders and coloured stars like my priority flags. If there is something that needs calculating or keeping a record of you can bet I’ve got a spreadsheet of it!
If we’re going on holiday or away to a festival I will have a list written out of all the things I need to take and when I went for interviews for a new job the level of prep I did made my boyfriend laugh. I had the equivalent of a novel for the last one and proceeded to talk for about 30 minutes to my friend in the pub all about the company and what I knew from my research!
People may mock, but I do always have the answers when they need them and I always know where things are.
However, is it best to be obsessed with organisation or merry with mess? I’ve always thought it’s best to have everything clear and in order, but after dating someone who is so laid back he’s nearly horizontal for near on six years my attitude is starting to change.
You see although I have everything laid out how I want it, I panic. Trying to be organised actually can put more pressure on you because you worry. All. The. Time.
I’m doing a charity walk on Sunday and I’m currently having a bit of a panic as I’ve realised none of us have arranged where we’re meeting, what time and what we’re doing after the event. This to me is not ideal, I’ve already sent my email out to everyone to try and sort it and will anxiously await their replies, then order will be restored and I can relax!
The thing is although people I know are super laid back and are often not on time for things, they are far more relaxed than me and things still tend to work out in the end. Cries of “it’ll be fine” are often met with a disgruntled look from me, but then when we do get to the venue on time, we don’t miss the start of a show, or the start of that party was laid back, I find myself wondering is all my panic and planning worth it after all?
I’ll sit down for five minutes in my flat and then I’ll notice a bit of mess somewhere so up I get to go put it in a neat little pile, or I’ll remember some bit of shopping we’ve run out of so a list needs to get written as a result, or thoughts of ‘I’ll just put that bit of washing on’ creep into my head. This then spirals into me going on a 1-2 hour rampage round the flat tidying and organising and then I’ll sit back down and relax.
Sometimes on a car journey I’ll sit fraught with worry at how late we’re going to be the whole way, closely watching the clock as the minutes tick by. My other half will drive along not a care in the world, listening to the radio and chatting away and if the traffic grinds to a halt so what? As we arrive at our destination maybe a mere 2 or 3 minutes late I’m a tight-chested sweaty mess and he climbs out the car calm as anything and ready to enjoy himself.
As I’ve got older I’ve got worse and I can feel myself becoming more like my Mum every day (sorry Mum!) – if there’s something to worry about you can bet I’ll be there chewing my fingernails and losing sleep over it.
Perhaps as part of my new life –getting back into my writing, getting a new job and obtaining a good work/life balance - I should seriously think about relaxing and taking a more chilled out approach?
Hm now where’s that notepad? If I can just find it I can write a list of all the things I should keep calm about and what things don’t need planning and...Oh...