I met James B, a program manager at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, in a recent Together Course, and when he kept us laughing and energized (because he has been on reality television, in stand-up comedy, and a trivia host!), I knew I wanted to dig deeper into his systems. Cue James producing his Together Trifold, and now I’m even more excited to share his insights with you!
Q: What is your favorite tool or trick for staying organized at work?
A: I always, always have something to write with so having something useful to write on all the time makes perfect sense. And it’s easy to keep something in your pocket. But a pocket-sized item isn’t always the best to write on – not a lot of space. Folded paper—in the form of my Together Trifold (pictured below!) helps solve that problem, while doing it with intention.
Maia’s note: Take a peek at this Together Trifold below. This is next level creativity and intentionality.
Q: How about keeping it Together at home?
A: My wife and I share Google Calendars. We also share a “Yousef’s Calendar” (my nephew JoJo’s real name) with his mother and father, so we know when visitation with his respective parents is happening. This is going to get an upgrade as I’m moving back into the office, so I will have to commute for the first time in two years.
Q: How do you re-Together yourself when a day goes off the rails?
A: Well, for one thing, I never expect any particular day to stay on the rails. If I successfully planned a day to the minute (or even to the half-hour or hour), I’d be so shocked I wouldn’t trust myself to plan anything again. I think you have to build in flexibility knowing “objects tend to shift in-flight” as it were. (While in the process of writing this I just had to address an issue of a check which was lost, investigated, found, but already voided, and finally replaced). Having a hold-all/secondary focus/recovered fumbles area on my Weekly Worksheet is very handy. Reviewing Worksheet items regularly (usually first thing in the morning) gives me a chance to update my daily tasks list to include items that were overlooked or postponed.
Q: What is something you have learned to let go in terms of Togetherness?
A: Trying too hard to predict how long something will take is something I’ve only started to really stop doing. I think “this is a half hour task” so I give myself a half hour to do it, as opposed to “this is an X type task” so I’ll block of time to do X type tasks and make sure to do a particular one first, to make sure it gets done and get some progress on other items.
Q: What is an area of continued Togetherness learning?
A: Sticking to the timing of my Meeting with Myself. It’s important to get it done beforehand, but I am a bit lax on making sure it consistently happens at the same time every week. When someone says “Can I grab you for ten minutes?” I find it hard to say “I have a Meeting… with Myself.” I get it done though.
James, thank you for sharing a bit of your work and your life with us. Readers, I especially love how intentional James is about using something that works for him – and how he thoughtfully juggles work and home. Does anyone want to hear more about the Together Trifold in an upcoming post?