My fellow Americans, we’ve got to get our Zeitgeist together.
Perhaps you spent the morning as I did. Searching through the three sizes in the closet for the current version of your self. Throwing out the green bagels at the back of the fridge as you tried to find some food with a shelf life that includes the late 20th Century. Finally, reaching into the vortex of your hamper for some not-so-clean socks. Or worse.
Lying on the floor near the kitchen door, an aging yellow stick-'em paper with heel marks reads: “Buy new stick-'em paper!”
If you are like me, you’ve been fighting paper avalanches, stuff landslides, entropy and your own growing senility--all in the hope that you will not need a book to tell you Things to Do Today. You see an organizer, a personal planner, a week-at-a-glancer as a sign that your schedule is controlling you and not vice versa.
You resent the fact that the Week-at-a-Glance people have added an extra hour to the morning schedule for 1990--7 to 8 a.m., the Power Hour. While you have been wasting that hour on a second cup of coffee and newspaper columns, others are busy making cold calls and getting ahead of you.
You begin to see your Life-at-a-Glance:
1. Ripped from mother’s belly.
2. Had sex.
3. Got published.
4. Worked out 3x a wk. for at least 1 hr.
5. Died anyway.
So you go to the store, a place where all problems are solved. You investigate this organizer business. You go low tech and exclude the electronic jobs that zap you if you’re napping when you should be networking.
You skip the top-of-the-line Sharper Image $149 leather-bound folios and the alligator-bound Day, Month, Year, Fleeting Second-at-a-Glance. You’re Alabamey bound.
You look through a mid-level organizer and quickly realize that anyone who has time to fill it out has time, time, time on her hands. There is a section called “Contacts” where you are to record your conversations with anyone you meet. It looks like a spy’s diary. Conversation log . . . family . . . associations . . . when, where met . . . referred by . . . discussed . . . promised . . . requested.
Everything but a checklist: “Scratched my back? Scratched his?”
Another section takes a more holistic view. It is called “Objectives” and is subheaded “Area of Interest--Career/Future/Self.” (Best not to think about self and others.)
After you write down your objectives and decide whether they relate to career/future/self, you have a column in which to prioritize items by designating them a, b or c objectives. An unprioritized list might read:
1. Do shirts.
2. Buy bagels.
3. Get married.
4. Have inner growth.
5. Phone broker.
The organizer industry is even beginning to recognize the particular organizational needs of certain groups such as Mormons, Hasidic Jews and Muslims. Glancing through their objectives’ lists, you might see such notations as “Get married again. . . . Properly slaughter calf. . . . Face Mecca.”
So far, no organizers for Satanists or exhibitionists or crack dealers. Consider the poor slob who gets rubbed out because he forgot to clean his Uzi before catching the 8:15 to Medellin. All because he didn’t write it down.
The “Things To Do” page in the organizer I examined--and, of course, the unexamined organizer is not worth buying--comes with an interesting column called “Delegated To.” We have all been told that the successful executive is the one who has learned to delegate authority. His “To Do” list might read:
1. Buy house, raise kids--wife.
2. Prepare report--secretary.
3. Wipe behind--self.
I just don’t think I want to spend my incredibly valuable time rating my priorities and evaluating my contacts in my pocket planner. Call me a chaos junkie, but I think I’ll use that Power Hour from 7 to 8 a.m. to sleep, perchance to dream.