Code Name: Succulent – Life in a Box

It takes me almost exactly 1 minute 30 seconds longer to get dressed when I have to stop and think about what I’m going to wear in the morning.

Now that I’ve scared off most everyone who would have left a snarky comment on how I’m far too organized for anyone’s good, we can settle in for a chat about living life inside a box. 

The vast majority of my day is routine and schedule oriented. And I think my major fear with allowing myself room to pursue hobbies outside of writing was that writing would get squeezed out somehow. The control freak part of my brain has been just screaming for the past couple of weeks, “You’ve got to get this creative stuff organized! Like yesterday! Or the world will explode!” 

Okay, maybe not quite so dramatic, but you catch my drift.


In any case – the creative part of my brain has been like an overly-enthusiastic puppy as my analytical side has been trying to reorganize my routines and schedule to fit hobbies back into my life. My thought process is something like this (sound familiar? All links non-affiliate.):

Left brain (LB ): My PDA is obsolete. I need to replace the technology before it dies, and I’m left with nothing to track my routines/schedule with. And it would be nice to have a bigger screen…


Right brain (RB ): Didya see that cool tablet Costco has on sale? I bet that would keep a calendar, and it’s way cool. Probably has games too. And look at the colorful screen! Shiny!

LB: *spends two weeks reading/watching reviews, examining the tablet and all others in its class to make sure it’s the best out for the value at the time*  Okay, sure, I think that will work. *cringes at cost while writing the check and politely arguing with apple fan boy clerk about purchasing non-iStuff tablet*

RB: *Gazes dreamily at box*


LB: Let’s get this thing organized. I need programs for shopping lists, my Google calendars, email, blog reading, social media, and something to keep track of my workouts. A separate task list too, with reminder alarms. I’ll need an office suite if we can find one, so I can carry spreadsheets, finish blog posts and do some light idea notations. Oh, and a note program of some sort. *spends hours paging through apps, reading reviews, and looking at screen shots*


RB: *looks over shoulder* Hey, that shopping list looks like a notepad – it’s got a coffee stain and everything! We should get that one. And that task manager with the pink squid. He’s cute, don’t you think? What kind of alarm sounds do we get with that? OMG – look at that little android bug workout program! And that one in a tuxedo – what’s he do? Can we take him home? Please? Look! Digital sticky notes

LB: Well, it would be sort of handy to have an inventory of my closet. Would help during those yearly clothes shopping trips. Looks like it has a wardrobe planner too, so I could pick out clothes ahead of time. Save me that extra minute and a half in the mornings.

And that workout program is great – a place to log meals, quick and easy logging for workouts, automatic calorie deficit planning…sure, that will work fine. Not sure about the pink squid…but he integrates with Google calendars? Okay then, we’ll keep him too. And yeah, that shopping list program looks robust enough to handle the job – the pantry list will be handy. Looks like we just need an office suite now…

RB: They all look boring. Sorry, can’t help you there. But you should download that row counter for crochet projects, ‘cause it’s a fun gadget, don’t you think?

LB: Fine. I’ll go back over the office suite reviews myself. A row counter, you say? That could be very useful, actually. *downloads* I wish the Total Gym people would put those training deck cards I use for workouts in an app…

RB: Look at this cool photo album thingy on the tablet. Why don’t you just take pictures of the cards, then make “workout albums” to flip through?


LB: Hey, great idea! *high fives*

I think you get the idea here, right? This is representative of the near constant chatter in my head between the two halves of my brain…it gets a bit chaotic sometimes, but normally it all ends up creatively organized.

Here’s the thing though – if I were just blindly trying to get all these things taken care of without a schedule or routines, my life would be a chaotic mess. It would be too much to handle, and too overwhelming to even consider. By laying them all out in an organized fashion and using programs to help me keep track (whether on my PDA, my computer, the tablet, or good old paper calendar), I can do more things, and have more variety in my life. And that’s what this whole project is about – enjoying many things, while still taking care of the essentials.

For those of you still hanging around, here’s how I know that it takes me 1.5 minutes longer if I don’t know what I’m going to wear in the mornings. My workday morning routine is this (very, very rarely deviates, because “autopilot” is the only gear I have before 9am):

6am: Get up, let dogs out/in, feed dogs, take vitamins, check schedule
Wake husband up, push him to the shower
Turn on electric kettle, put on makeup while water heats
Pour tea, set timer for 4 minutes, get dressed
Let dogs out/in, strain tea into travel mugs, get hubby his vitamins and grab tea/breakfast on the way out the door.

When I know what I’m going to wear, I’m always in the kitchen 1.5 minutes before the tea timer goes off. When I have to decide on the fly, I’m rushing out to the kitchen as the timer goes off.

Next week, I’ll report on how my hobbies are specifically fitting into my schedule – and how the whole experiment is working for me. I’m still sort of in a state of flux at the moment, so while things are less chaotic than they were, I’m still working on slotting things in. We’ll see how it looks in another week…

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7 comments on “Code Name: Succulent – Life in a Box

  1. Dolly

    Ooh shiny new toy!! It is cool :-)) I want a tablet, but now with 4 computers at my disposal (when I usually only use 1 at a time), it is totally unjustified so I will wait a little while.

    Love your LB / RB Process!! I have circles going around in my brain too.

  2. Brooklyn Ann

    If I’m a 10th as organized as you, I consider myself as doing awesome. 🙂 I try to make lists, but it never works out so I just keep stuff in my head and try to hold to it by sheer will.
    Truly, you’re an inspiration.

  3. Carol

    LOL Somehow I picture LB and RB as an angel and a devil sitting on your shoulders arguing. 😀

    I think with the amount you manage to cram into a single day you’d pretty much have to be super-organized.

  4. Jamie DeBree

    Dolly – um, yeah. I didn’t really *need* one either…but was able to make a great case for it once I realized I’ll be able to write it off on my taxes as a business expense next year. 😉

    Ah, the joys of being “whole-brained”, eh? LOL

    Brooklyn – maybe lists just aren’t your thing. Maybe post it notes on the bathroom mirror are more your style. I think everyone can figure out how to be organized if they just try enough different things. Gotta work with your natural rhythms, I always say. 😉

    Carol – but which is the devil? LOL

    You all really would be shocked at how much time I can waste in a 24 hour period, even with my routines & schedules. 😉

  5. Jamie DeBree

    Wanted to add – lists never worked for me either, until I could make them digitally and add alarms to the items. Once I make a list, I rarely check it again until an alarm goes off that I have to silence. So perhaps try lists on your computer calendar, with alarms attached to the items? Just a thought…

  6. Heidi

    I am drooling. Yup, it’s not an attractive reaction, but I am totally jealous of your ability to…well…to be like THIS.

    Some people want to be a rock star or astronaut, I want to be an organizational super star. You’ve got it and I want it. So, until they come up with some sort of personality trait synthesizing and transfer protocol, I’ll just have to keep following along and hope that it rubs off by osmosis. I hope that day comes soon, cause walking around with my laptop strapped to my head is becoming rather inconvenient.

  7. beach bridesmaid dresses

    While I still like this article, I think there was an grammatical error close to the beginning of the second paragraph.