Family life

Get your groove back this fall

Type-A list-maker Katie Dupuis has a valuable lesson for those looking to get organized after the summer.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Today’s Parent managing editor Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization. A lot. Now, imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie and husband Blaine.

I know that I’m a Type-A personality because to-do lists make me giddy. Seeing the order of things laid out in front of me, in a clear-cut productive path, is my favourite thing. Better still, are to-do lists with lines through each task (usually in a happy colour) to show my progress and what still needs doing. (Confession: Sometimes I add tasks I’ve already done to the list just so I can automatically draw lines through them. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it — it’s pretty motivating and not at all like cheating.)

I guess it makes sense then — given my propensity for list-making and the joy they bring me — that after a frazzled summer that left little time for lists, I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of a disorganized, chaotic, frenzied tornado. Case in point: I haven’t blogged since mid-July. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to say, because I don’t think that has ever happened in my life, but more that I just couldn’t get it together. This summer saw many, many events, including weekends of weddings, new babies for every person I know (it seemed), chasing a toddler with an ever-expanding hilarious vocabulary, and moving to a new house (which in and of itself explains a lot). It was completely non-stop. And it taught me this very important lesson:

Even when you think you have your sh*t together, you don’t. Something silly will happen and completely unravel the to-do list. The trick is to calmly ravel it back up and not worry too much about the pieces that end up out of place.

Read more: Retrain your brain for better organization >

I’m trying to do this now. I’m methodically working my way through a massive list of loose ends, trying not to get worked up about the stuff I didn’t get to all summer and still don’t get to each day, and reminding myself that sometimes “good enough” will have to do. It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, right? The priorities shift almost hourly — last night it was about getting Sophie to the doctor to get a rash checked out rather than signing off on pages for our October issue, and this morning it was all about getting the hydro company to come and look at our broken meter — and that’s OK. I’m not 20 years old anymore where the only priorities were obsessing about school (once Type A, always Type A) and where my friends were going on Friday night (wouldn’t that be amazing? For just one week? “Let’s do the time warp ag-ai-ain…”)

Regardless, I’m using the first week of September as a fresh start, right up there with new notebooks and sharp pencils. But it also means knowing when to let go in order to keep all the balls in the air. I’m giving myself permission to drop one (or at least set one down gently or, better still, give it to someone else) and I’m giving you permission too. Drop a ball, already. It’ll help you to juggle the other ones better.

For me, the blogging ball is still in the rotation. You’ll hear me more often this fall, I swear. I’ve missed you.

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