Sometimes, depression can cause busy mind that’s focused on the negative. I get slow mind. Slow mind gets confused and overwhelmed. I rely on my organization system to compensate for this, at least to some extent. As time goes by, though, the system gets overwhelmed, at which point it needs a refresh or a broader overhaul. This week, I made some major updates to my system so that it can continue helping my mind to function.
Some of the things that fall under the umbrella of my organization system are:
- browser bookmarks
- file folders on my computer
- my blogging spreadsheet
- Notes app, which contains various lists
Part of why the system gets overwhelmed is that I go back and fiddle with older posts to refresh and optimize them and create new graphics to pin on Pinterest. There are a lot of bits and pieces that I reuse, so I’ve got an ever-increasing number of image files.
Managing my browser bookmarks
Some things also get added into the system in a disorganized manner. If I find a new tool that’s useful, I’ll bookmark the site in the appropriate bookmark folder, but I won’t go in and alphabetize it. That’s not because I care about order for the sake of order.
I have a problem remembering that things exist if they’re not in front of me. Browser bookmarks are often less about needing to recall the URL, and more about just wanting to remember that the site exists. If they’re not alphabetized, then it takes more cognitive effort to find something, and I don’t have a lot of that to spare.
This week I did some tidying within my bookmark folders, alphabetizing, shortening labels, and weeding out sites I don’t use. The general structure remained the same, though.
I also did a lot of updating on the folders on my laptop. I don’t remember where to find things, and I get extra-overwhelmed when there are too many things in front of me. To compensate, I have very clear folder pathways so my head can follow along. I do this for blogging related item, books and book sale data, tax info, etc.
I was starting to feel quite overwhelmed, so I created a bunch of subfolders to diminish the overwhelm factor. That probably sounds like it makes things more complex, but the more complex structurally yet simplified in terms of pathways my system is, the less cognitive resources I need to put in to get to where I want to go.
I have a blogging spreadsheet that contains lists of everything I’ve posted and when, as well as my idea farm. My idea farm had gotten too big and it was too hard to find things, so I cleaned that up. My post list chugs along quite nicely and helps me keep track of my scheduling.
A different page of my blogging spreadsheet is devoted to income. I have bits of income coming from several different sources, and at the beginning of every month I update my spreadsheet. My layout for that has always felt rather overwhelming, so I’ve reformatted that to see if it makes me less confused.
On my Notes app, I keep assorted lists, from a daily to do list to checklists that guide me through the steps of things like releasing a book. It’s a lot easier for me to enter information into Notes than to have to go elsewhere to retrieve information when I need it, so I’ve made note of things like book ISBN numbers or bits of html code that I might have to reuse but definitely wouldn’t remember.
Organization system = more functioning
Perhaps this sounds unnecessarily complicated or finicky, but it shifts the complexity away from my brain and onto my system. If I was doing nothing else at all online but blogging diary-style, I might manage without the support of an organizational system. But to handle various other things that I want to do, I need my system to keep going.
Do you have any systems that you’ve developed to help manage the effects of your illness?