The unexpected praise or apology

I can be ornery. I like to do things a certain way, and I have a hard time apologizing. I am not sure how that happened in life, and how I became so stubborn. I actually think it is an artifact of growing up so fast. My mom became sick when I was 12. The next four years were filled with her. Taking care of her, cleaning our house, paying bills, using food stamps to buy groceries, finding my own way to/from school and other events, the list goes on. It was all up to my sister and me to figure out how to take care of my mom and figure out how to navigate our own lives. In my own way, I grew up so fast, and had to figure out things on my own, that I almost designed my own life very early on. Maybe they are/were coping mechanisms, but those critical years (when I should have been out playing and getting into trouble) I was just trying to keep shit together.

A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Notes, not received” made me think about how maybe my childhood hardened me into not being the best at giving praise or approval. I rarely got it myself, so how would I learn to give it out to others? The third and last parts are what specifically stood out to me:

An expected apology rarely makes things better. But an expected apology that never arrives can make things worse.

An expected thank you note rarely satisfies. But an expected thank you that never arrives can make things worse.

On the other hand, the unexpected praise or apology, the one that comes out of the blue, can change everything.

It’s easier than ever to reach out and speak up. Sad, then, how rarely we do it when it’s not expected.

I still have so much to learn. I could definitely be better at work, at home, and with friends/family at unexpected apologies AND praise. We probably all can. We all probably have urges and then decide to not act on them. This is my reminder to try harder, let go more, and say what is on my mind. Hopefully it is a good reminder for you too.

The Post-It Queen

I sometimes get teased at work for my excessive use of Post-Its. I have even been told that based on my actual job I should be more savvy using apps and other electronic means of managing my day. I cannot. I am a failure. I am deep down an old school soul. Post-its remind me of the quick, need-to-do-right now tasks. The notebook I take with me to all my meetings serves as a tracking of history. I can go back in time and remember items from meetings, I can track to-dos from those meetings. Usually ones that are not urgent go in my notebook, and Post-Its track URGENT tasks.

We all have our own ways to keep our life in order. I am a mixture of old and new. Chris and I track our grocery list, restaurant interests, and movies via an app on our iPhones, yet I still have paper notes for long-term, ongoing to-dos and future planning. Which way works? If there was an app out there that did exactly what I wanted, without crashing, and had no syncing issues I would probably divert all efforts digitally. However, that never happens for me.

Just this past Sunday I was on my way to the grocery, and just before I leave we realize my phone will not sync with our Any.do app, so I was not be able to view all the groceries on the list. Instead, Chris sent me an email with our list. If I cannot trust an app 100% I might as well resort to old school methods — pen and paper. Post-Its are my colorful, insistent reminders that something has to be done. If that Post-It is kept in an app on my iPhone I can easily ignore it. I have to remember to open that app to be reminded.

What is the method to your madness? Do you have a process that keeps your organized? Are you all electronic? All paper? Or a little of both?