Time Management, and other hopeful joys

We are one week today into 2013 (just in case you didn’t know). So far so good on this end. I’m still excited about the new year. Everything I desire still seems possible. I am imprinting this mindset in order to get back to it weeks from now when the world has spun me around and set me loose.

This morning I sat at my desk with the intent of organizing myself on my planner. I still buy one of those paper ones, and I like a plain thin one from Dollar General, on which I can write with my blue ink pen. Let me just say that I am already proficient at using paper and pen, they can be cheaply  and quickly replaced when they don’t work, can be used without electricity, and also for doodling when thinking. I’ll use them ’til I die.

In order to plan, though, I had to dig myself out. I have not seen the top of my desk in over six months. I solved that problem by sweeping everything into a plastic basket to deal with at a later date. Or never. I also found that I no longer needed things like the heavy Oxford Dictionary that has been on my desk for 20 years. Nor did I need to keep the plastic pen holder that I have never liked, just because my mother gave it to me. I brought in a blue pottery vase that delights my eyes. And I left the wind-up monkey, not only for the grands, but for me.

I had quite a number of bits of paper scattered on my desk on which I scribble things I don’t want to forget. I have to look at each of these as I drop them into the pile in the basket. On one bit of paper is the list of Nanny McPhee‘s medals; one each for courage, kindness, resolve, imagination, enthusiasm, and leaps of faith. Where shall I keep that list?

photoThen there is the paragraph of wisdom from Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I looked it up one day early last year (I know this because it was on the bottom of the pile.) and scribbled it on yellow foolscap. I’ve probably shared it here before, but it bears repeating.

If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: ‘I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone,’ one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice! ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea.

I have set as my Word(s) for the Year: Seek Joy. By managing my time, I can save myself from two thieves of joy: hurry and indecision. I’ve finally come to the clear acceptance that when I say yes to doing one thing, I must say no to many other things. Let me choose those things that contribute to my joy.

Here is my desk now. It contributes to my joy:


I put the list of Nanny McPhee’s medals back on the desk. Maybe I’ll make myself some.

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” ~Nehemiah 8:10


13 thoughts on “Time Management, and other hopeful joys

  1. I really had to give this years word some serious thought, and came up with, “possibilities.” and a plan. I lost track of last years word very early on, and in fact could not even remember what the word was. I had to scroll through the whole year of your posts to find my word again. So my plan this year is to write, scribble, or doodle the word at the top of each page of my paper calendar/planner that sits open on my dining room table. If I make the effort to write the word each month, it will stay up front on my mind, and I can focus on my possiblities. One of those possiblities, I hope is to clean off my desk! Early last year, I brought my mother’s oak roll top desk from storage and put it in the corner of my dining room. Thinking that all of those little cubby holes would contribute to keeping me organized. Well, the true joy of a roll top desk, is rolling the top down to hide all of those piles of paper!

    “Stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities”‘ Terry Josephson


    • Carolyn– thank you so much for the gift of your wisdom. Let me say that I have in the past remembered my word maybe three months into the year. I don’t let that deter me from choosing, because at least it heads me in the right direction. I’m taking a cue from you and going to write the word all over the place. I like sticky notes. Surely that will help me. Hugs, CurtissAnn


  2. I love this, and I love the quote from Gift from the Sea. I read that book ages ago and think I should read it again, soon. I have never set my words for the year, but I think if did it would be “garden it forward”. Thanks for the inspiration!


  3. I’ve been re-reading my favorite quotes from Gifts From The Sea around New Years since I finished it for the first time NYE 2010. What a treasure of a little book! I’ve been letting go of a lot of things since around Thanksgiving. Purging is such good for the soul! My word for 2013 is “self” as in self-respect, self-empowerment, getting back to my-self. Peaceful blessings for the New Year!


    • Blessings, Jo, for your word “self”. Very empowering indeed! We can only be blessings to others when we are fully ourselves. ‘Gifts from the Sea’ surely is a treasure of a book. Wouldn’t it be amazing to go and stay all by oneself on a Florida beach, although today it would be much more crowded than in Lindbergh’s time. 🙂


  4. oh I love this – just the thing I needed to read tonight. Just this morning when I was at the Dr.’s office with my girls, we chit-chatted and I asked if they’d made any resolutions, which they hadn’t. I decided that mine would be to be more organized(as I was sitting there with a plastic grocery bag full of papers that I could look through to try to locate their health cards which I felt might be in one of those envelopes that had been in one of those piles in one of those corners!) I was truly a bag woman, crinkling and shuffling my papers in the organized waiting room space! I took myself to the mini-picnic table for toddlers to play at so that I could spread out my papers whilst looking. I never found the cards 😦 Then they came in the mail this afternoon!
    But on the way home, my daughter SJ said, “Mom, I think your resolution should be to not do as much.” And she was exactly right!

    So I love everything about this post – it speaks beautifully and simply and especially the Anne Morrow Lindbergh quote & Nehemiah passage! You always know just what to say!
    Thank you, Curtiss Ann!


    • Oh, Tammy, I can just see you at the toddler table! What a gift of words you have. Thank you for sharing. I’m right there with you, honey, with piles of papers. They attract themselves! And just when I throw some away, someone comes along and wants one of them. I have always envied people who were naturally organized, but then I came to the belief that God made me just like I am. He knew what he was getting when he got me, ha, ha. We mothers with so many interests do tend to do too much, that’s how we are wonderfully made. Thus, the basket with all my mess, but off my desk. 🙂 This morning I came into my office, and seeing my desk made me so happy! I don’t care for resolutions, but I think I’m making one in a vow to myself to give myself the gift of a clean desk all year long.

      So glad we have met! hugs, CurtissAnn


  5. You are such a delight, my dear friend! Is it a coincidence that I have chosen Joy to be my word for this year too?? 🙂 I cleaned my desk the other day as well, and have a rose imprinted coffee cup to keep my assortment of pens in plus my pink Island Luau candle to inspire me! (And my toy of choice is a hopping purple pony with hearts and stars on it’s withers!) And I keep myself organized on paper too! All I need know is a cup of tea and I’m good to go! Love you much!



    • Oh, it is a joy to know you are focusing on joy, too! Great minds, and hearts… Enjoy your desk, as I am mine. I’m really hoping, planning, praying, committing? to keeping mine clean for me this year. 🙂


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