Tuesday, September 30, 2008

michelle is moving


I'm moving back to my hometown of London, Ontario in approximately two months. I'm sad to be leaving behind the life that I have enjoyed here in Toronto, but I'm excited by the thought of the new things that will happen to me soon.

And the professional organizer in me is chomping at the bit to get started on plans for moving. Who am I kidding? I love it all: the purging, the organizing, the packing, the moving, the unpacking, the sorting - a move is a professional organizer's heaven. Even if it's my own move. Especially if it's my own move.

I'm already excited to see if I can improve on how things went the last time I moved. In my favour is the fact that I have significantly less stuff than before - which means I have less to pack, and less to organize in my new home. It's also going to be easier for me to edit my things before packing, because nearly everything I own is currently being used in my apartment. (Last time, many of my things were stored away in boxes, so I couldn't access them easily to do a really good pre-move purge.)

My mind is already buzzing with plans, and you can be sure I'm going to hone the techniques I've learned through my work with clients and my own previous moves. (See my earlier posts on moving, here and here, for additional tips on packing and organizing.)

Expect more to come, as my moving day draws closer!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

my blackberry


(This post was originally published on my personal blog, here.)

I love my BlackBerry. If you'd told me six months ago that I would get a BlackBerry (and that I would come to feel that I couldn't live without it), I would have told you you were crazy.

I thought I knew myself well. I thought I knew what helped keep me organized, and what would drive me crazy. Turns out I was wrong.

I'm a very visual person, and I like to see everything laid out in front of me. (In an organized fasion, of course.) Don't give me directions; give me a map. Don't tell me something; write it down for me. Don't hide my schedule in binary code; give me some paper and a pencil, already.

But my BlackBerry has become one of my very favorite tools. Yes, it's addictive. (And yes, I'm kind of ambivalent about that part of it.) But it helps simplify my life so much that I'm seriously figuring out how I can afford to keep it, should I ever leave the job it came with. (BlackBerry plans are a little more expensive than those of your average mobile phone. Go figure.)

Why do I love my BlackBerry so much? It does so much - all in one tiny little package.

It's a mobile phone.

It can receive e-mails. (IT CAN RECEIVE E-MAILS!!!) That feature alone blew me away the first day I had it. No more having to log on to my computer when I want to check and see what's going on. (And a lot is going on - mostly business. Which is why I got the thing in the first place - it made sense to the organization.)

It can SEND e-mails. (IT CAN *SEND* E-MAILS!!!) How ridiculous is that? Someone needs a two-word reply on the fly? No problem! I have (dare I say this) responded to e-mails from just about anywhere: the grocery store, the health food store, restaurants, my car (no, I wasn't driving at the time, officer), my bed in the middle of the night, and the while using the toilet.

It has a web browser. I know cell phones have been able to browse for years, but this is the first time I've had a mobile plan with browsing. Brainerd and I were at a choral management conference a couple of weekends ago, and during a session on strategic planning we were able to view, right there and then, the vision and mission statements posted on the Chorale's website, and discuss some changes we needed to make to them.

It's a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). One of my favorite features (oh, who am I kidding - they're all favorite features) is the address book, because - get this - you can click on someone's name and have the choice of phoning them (at any of their million locations), texting them, messaging them (Blackberry has its own messenger service between users) or e-mailing them. And like all PDAs, it also has a calendar/datebook and assorted sundry functions (calculator, etc.).

It's a camera. (Okay, I don't really use the camera all that much. I have a much better digital camera that I take with me almost everywhere, too. But if I WANTED to use my BlackBerry as a camera, I could. I even used it this morning, to take a photo of a sidewalk I saw during my morning walk, apparently created during Canada's centennial year.)


(1867 - 1967: Yay, Canada!)

It's a clock - and an alarm clock. My watch stopped working a couple of months ago. I haven't noticed. The BlackBerry is with me everywhere, so I always know what time it is. I only wish that it also had a timer. I mean, the alarm is kind of like a timer, except it's not. You have to set a clock time, as opposed to an elapsed time. Here's my advice to the BlackBerry people: BlackBerry people, make a BlackBerry with a proper timer. I love the ring I've set for the alarm, though - it's called ChiGong: a gentle, Tibetan bowl sound. And my ringtone for incoming calls is equally soothing - it sounds like a single chord played on a harpsichord.

It's a GPS (Global Positioning System). Took me a while to figure out how to navigate the map functions, but I still get a kick out of the device telling me exactly where I am at any given moment. Brainerd and I took a research trip to Cape Croker, ON (near Wiarton) last spring, and when we got lost on the winding country roads in the Native reserve, it could tell us exactly where we were. Sweet. The GPS can't give you directions to brand new addresses, however - which I discovered to my dismay when trying to find a friend's house in a brand new subdivision north of Toronto. Might not have helped me much, anyhow: the houses were so new they didn't even have street numbers on them, yet.

It's an mp3 player. (I haven't used that function yet, but I'm sure it's awesome. Awesome.)

My number one favorite reason I love my BlackBerry, however, is that I can create lists on it. Like shopping lists, and to do lists, and lists of my favorite inspirational quotes. I currently have 29 lists on my BlackBerry, and I add more every week. No more paper lists that I can never keep track of! I always have my BlackBerry with me, so I always have all my lists. I consult them constantly throughout the day, and especially when I'm shopping or packing for trips. My CrackBerry definitely feeds my list addiction.

Number of times I have left my BlackBerry behind in a store or business: 3

(I have a constant mantra now whenever I'm leaving a store: Do I have my BlackBerry? Where's my Blackberry?)

That's about it. I highly recommend the BlackBerry. Mine is a Curve. I've heard iPhones are pretty cool, though. May have to check those out, someday...