Growing Pains: Retool Your Cardfile


Long-term users will tell you: one of the beauties of Pam and Peggy's S.H.E. system is flexibility. Your trusty S.H.E.™ cardfile can keep your house clean and orderly, organize your business, steer your volunteer work on an even course, track your hobbies, and take the chaos out of Christmas. There's a place in the S.H.E.™ system for everything!

Just not all at once! The S.H.E.™ system doesn't "jist grow" like Topsy (or like my son's feet: one shoe size every two months!). The S.H.E.™ system grows more like a snail--every so often, you need to shuck the old shell for a new one. The new shell will resemble the old one, but will be roomier, and have a few new chambers. Cardfiles, too, get more complex with age.

Many circumstances can herald "growing pains". Early on, as you transit from sidetracked slob to a model of cleaning maintenance, your cards will need to be revised to reflect your new speed and efficiency.

Changed personal circumstances (new spouse, new child, new job or no job) can lead to cardfile shakeup. Perhaps you want to add a new thread to your lifeline, including Christmas planning, ideas from the kitchen book, or hobbies.

In all these situations, it's time for a cardfile retooling. Begin, as always, with an undisturbed block of time--at least an hour, if you can. You'll be much more efficient if, once you've gathered your wits, you don't let them go.

Start with a fresh sheet of paper in your S.H.E.™ notebook. (Don't let me hear you whine about how you prefer legal pads or scented stationery or computer paper! If it's in the S.H.E.™ notebook now, it'll still be there in three years, and think how much fun it will be to read!) On your paper, quickly write down everything on your mind.

Don't censor, or edit, or think about how--right now, you're only interested in what. Here are some examples from a "growing pains" list of mine:

I hate the furniture--want to reupholster, new drapes
I need to get tickets for the play
I need new clothes
I want to spend more time sewing
I need to call for doctor's appointment

Your list may be a jumble of big goals, together with little one-time tasks. That's okay!

Next, just like with an On My Mind list, assign each item to the past, present or future. My list, from 3 years ago, was made too close to Christmas to let me reupholster. This "future" project went on an orange card, filed behind February's folder. When February rolled around, I made a more detailed plan.

"Past" stuff? Put it on a card for January, when you'll make amends if you can; accept it, if you can't. Present "small stuff" (doctor's appointment, theatre tickets) goes on an immediate action card.

My list, though, had an area I wanted to add to my card file: sewing. First, assign a color. I chose orange, my "special projects" color. How many hours do you want (or are you able) to give this new project?

Once you decide how much, turn to your Basic Week Plan, so you can figure out where to plug in your new interest. I found four hours for sewing on Sunday afternoons by swapping a big Sunday dinner (which no one cared about but me) for a hefty after-church brunch and sandwiches for dinner.

Adding my new orange "sewing" card, I'd retooled my cardfile . . . sew I could get organized!