Anger is important. Without it, I don’t know how much incentive we’d have to make hard choices: to quit, to move, to leave. My most significant, formative experiences were fueled in large part by anger.

It’s always been a dream of mine to travel internationally. When I was young, I hung a world map on my wall and put thumbtacks on all the places I wanted to see. My father joked that I should’ve just colored the whole thing because my tacks were everywhere.

Before my first overseas trip, I read a book about race and hip-hop. The biracial author essentially asserted that black people weren’t cultured because we were afraid to go anywhere. We were, literally, scared to death. It made me so angry that I applied for my passport and booked a flight before I finished the next chapter.

My return to Houston was fueled by anger. I’d considered returning for the last 10 of my 12 year tenure, but I couldn’t decide what I wanted. I felt trapped in my position and stifled by leadership that I felt were racist and sexist. Anger made the decision easy. Everything became clear.

I think anger is important, but if we stay there too long, it can stifle us. Lately I’ve been struggling with work-life balance. I care a great deal about quality, but time is so fleeting. There just aren’t enough hours to put as much thought into the projects worth doing. I decided that the only way I’m going to be more successful is to become more organized. Structure tends to stifle me, but I’m happier when I’m productive, and I can only get there if I know where everything is and how best to prioritize.

I spent some time researching life hacks of wildly productive people, and then more time reading about decision-making and efficiency. In one book (that was specifically about learning to write better), the author said that most people aren’t successful because they are slobs.

Slobs! He actually said slobs. I had to put the book down.

Today was a good start. I spent the morning purchasing supplies (bins, binders, baskets, labels, markers). I started on the closest, putting labels on the drawers and sorting everything by type. One drawer for shirts/dresses, another for shorts/pants. One for gloves/scarves/hats, etc. I made bins for household goods and arranged the bathroom cabinet. I made progress on the pantry, the linen closet, and the kitchen drawers.

I bought a yearly planner with tabs for the weeks and months.

I started creating a spreadsheet of my writing topics for the year, organized by theme and main points for each piece. I’m hoping to add dates for research and learning more technical skills.

Progress is slow, but steady. I remain patient; there is only up.

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7 thoughts on “Day 2, Week 5: The Up Side of Anger

  1. I love this! Thanks for sharing. I like reading about successful people but sometimes it’s difficult to bridge the gap between where I am now and where I want to be. It’s so important I think to share stories of process and struggle vs just final results. The part about people being slobs is hilarious. It made me look around and sigh lol. Your organizational life hacks are interesting. Will you share some pictures of the bin system and the filing? Thanks!

    1. Thanks for writing! I definitely have more work to do, but I can share pictures. I’m working on a list of Ted Talks that I think are must-sees, but I also just created a Pinterest board on organizing. The visuals really help me see how people make it work.

  2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is very useful for organizing a little outside of traditional thinking. I read the book but I have way too many clothes and got discouraged… I’ll do better

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