There’s nothing sexier than a mate who can make a mean to-do list.
I like ‘em smart and stubborn. I want a man who actually asks for a homogeneous set of socks as a present.
The Type-A partner can be a challenge when selecting gifts that will wow. They are often particular in their preferences, are minimalists, and probably have an ongoing smartphone list of the things they plan to buy YOU. Those naughty overachievers need to be punished.
Or, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
This Valentine's Day, spread the love to your beloved micromanager with these no-fail presents that say, “I love you and all your efficient eccentricities.”
GIFTS THAT REQUIRE DOLLARS
one: Portable Charging Station, AViiQ, Via Amazon, $100.20 CAD. Without the tangled mess of cables, charge four devices at once. All of this tech-management is neatly contained in a stylish carrying case.
two: Vintage Desk Organizer, Etsy, Funk And More Vintage, $20.21 CAD. Something both fun and functional for a workspace is always a winning present for an organized person.
three: CanoScan LiDE110, Canon, $69.99. From receipts and business cards to photos, a desk scanner can be a gesture that says, “I love the way you electronically organize our bills as they come in.”
four: Roomba, iRobot, $349.99. Though on the pricey side of Valentine’s Day, the Roomba is the Homo sapien of the vacuum world. For the Type-A who likes things spotless, this is a no-brainer present.
five: Professional Organizer, Professional Organizers of Canada, cost varies depending on service. A Professional Organizer can help you get everything—from your home office to your business—in order. Their directory of members can be a great starting point if your mate is seeking a little support to make their world simpler.
six: A DIY Sunglasses Organizer, idea from Cupcakes and Cashmere, materials about $15. The clean lines of this sunglasses organizer almost make it a work of art in its own right. A great, fun project that looks very straightforward.
seven: Sticky Note Packet Honest Acronyms, Chapters Indigo, $14. An adorable set of sticky notes will brighten the day of any Type-A. Fun for home or at work!
GIFTS THAT REQUIRE DOING*
one: Talk policy, in bed. Nothing is more stimulating than a heated discussion about social or fiscal policy. What are your thoughts on social assistance? Is Canada putting smart investments into healthcare? If a disagreement breaks out, all the better—you get to make up after.
two: Make a five-year plan together, in bed. The A-Type mate is a planner by nature. Fantasizing about the future, together, is a truly intimate bonding experience. Talking about personal goals and aspirations is also a great check-in to see where your plans align and diverge. Better yet, write a letter to each other that includes the ways you see yourselves growing together.
three: Browse real-estate porn via realtor.ca, in bed. Have a glass of wine, relax, and set the browsing budget limit to “unlimited.” Now pretend you’re the Rockefellers and find yourself the gaudiest, most extravagant house you can. A-Types are goal-oriented, and seeing the unattainable can really fire up the passions of frustration. Enjoy!
*for nerds, only. All others should try something boring and traditional, like dinner.
Dear Organized Self,
I’m on vacation!
So far, the weather has been lovely and no one has food poisoning. Everyone has a sunburn.
I’m sending this short note to thank you for doing a number of things before you left on this trip. Your forward thinking has spared our family the common home-hazards that often follow a vacation. These include, but are not limited to:
· Dead plants
· Mess and smell
· Piles of mail stuffed into the box
By doing these ten little things, you have made coming home a whole lot easier. You now have so much carefree vacation time, that you are writing yourself to brag. Isn’t being prepared amazing? To jog your memory, you prepared for this trip by:
1) Arranging for mail and paper pickup. One of your amazing neighbours will be lending a hand. It prevents deliveries from being stolen off the porch, and gives the appearance that someone is home.
2) Leaving your spare keys with a neighbour. Thankfully, this same amazing neighbor can be trusted not to rob you blind. Spare keys mean that s/he can enter the house in the event of an emergency. One less thing to worry about.
3) Arranging for plant and animal care.
4) Turning off lights and using light timers. Flicking off is one thing, but light timers can be used to discourage would-be burglars.
5) Powering down and unplugging. Thumbs-up for turning off all appliances, and going a step further by unplugging:
• Desktop and laptop computers
• Cable TV boxes
• Cordless phones
• Stereos, radios, and iPods
• Gas fireplace (pilot light)
You’ve saved yourself money, and hassle in the event of a power-surge.
6) Cleaning out the fridge. You checked for anything that might go rancid during your week away, and tossed out all the suspect items. Buying that emergency box of KD for your first day home was truly a stroke of genius.
7) Pitching all garbage, recycling, and composts. Remember that time you went away for two weeks and forgot to empty the garbage can? Do you remember standing on the couch and screaming at the flock of maggots that were doing a synchronized army-crawl toward you? The lesson was well learned, as you have emptied EVERY garbage in the house this time. Then you jumped out of the car at the last minute to be certain you really had done it. Then you thought about it at the airport and remembered you didn’t empty the shredding bin. It’s been a struggle to let that one go.
8) Turning down the thermostat. Many experts seem to agree that about 18 degrees Celsius is the right temperature to set when you leave for a trip. Who are you to disagree?
9) Doing the dishes. Giving the dishwasher one last run means you won’t be headed home to stinky food baked onto plates and forks.
Thanks again for being so organized! See you (sans maggots) in a week.
“I can’t clean the house today. It’s just too messy, and it will take me ages to get it all done. I ll just give it until tomorrow when I have more time.”
Being a life-long perfectionist has, mostly, served me well. I excelled in school. I have loads of interesting hobbies that I love. My brushing and flossing habits are pretty stellar.
Sometimes, though, insisting on perfection can create its own obstacles. If you are constantly trying to get everything just right, you create real obstructions to productivity, motivation, and psychological wellness.
It was Voltaire who said it best: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Actually, he said “le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.” Close enough.
The transition to motherhood was not a smooth one for me. Before motherhood, I had worked in a fast-paced job, and kept a wickedly neat-and-tidy house.
My mantra had always been “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Perfectionism was permitted to run wild back then.
But, new motherhood has no room for unessential mantras. My internal perfectionist spoiled so many of the early days with my newborn, as I fought to carve out the time to get my house back in perfect order.
With the realization that you can’t do everything just right can come an unintended consequence: you do nothing at all.
When the odds seem stacked against us — a massive pile of laundry, the mountain of Christmas knick-knacks that need to find a home, the endless organizing and packing that comes with moving — we often decide not to do anything at all. The job is too big, too hard, too undefined. It needs to wait until we have more time, more money, and more resources. More…..
“Over and over, I’ve heard patients describe being frozen into inaction by the awesome imperative to do a task not just perfectly, but in a way that truly impresses or astounds — in other words, to be “great” said Dr. Allan E. Mallinger in his book When Being in Control Gets Out of Control.
Just one thing
I won the battle with perfectionism when I truly let go, and took this to heart:
I accepted that my need for perfection was actually inhibiting my doing anything at all. So, I let go of my expectations for how something should be done just right, and decided to start with just one thing.
Pick one drawer to de-clutter.
Just make your bed.
Decide you are only cleaning items that use Windex today.
Accomplishing just one thing will put you one step forward. And, if there is time, do one more thing.
This is license to do away with a to-do list, and just start doing. It’s as close to anarchy as a recovering perfectionist can get.
The Secret to Getting Ahead
Mark Twain said, wisely, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” He followed that with “The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”
Letting go of my perfectionist mantra doesn’t mean I’m letting things slide in the housekeeping department. It means I’m learning to set realistic goals, and to accomplish just one thing instead of fretting about the enormity of a long list of never-ending to-dos.
Today, put down your alphabetized list of lists. Turn off the domestic strategist in your head. Embrace your inner pragmatist and accept it. Not everything will get done today. Some of it will roll to tomorrow. And that is ok.