I’ll admit that I’m not the most organised person. My system for keeping on top of life consists of little reminders, scattered around the house like confetti. These notes litter my surroundings, and you can find my whereabouts by following a trail of paper crumbs.
Some of them are reminders to pay bills, or run errands, but most of them are sketches for innovative concepts …
Let’s put modesty aside for a moment while I tell you that the ideas on those pieces of paper are genius. They always come to me in a moment of insight, as though the clouds have opened and inspiration has rained directly from the golden sky and into my brain.
I’m struck this inspiration at random times, like when I’m sleeping, eating, or watching Breaking Bad. When the ideas come, I find the nearest pen and papery-type material, and without taking my eyes off the TV show, or my dinner, or the back of my eyelids (if I happen to be napping), I jot down the stream of thoughts.
Grandiose schemes! Awesome designs! Pulitzer-prize-winning visions!
Which is great. But there’s one small problem …
Later, when I take the time to read over my notes, I have no f@#&ing idea what they mean.
You see, I’m usually too busy and disorganized to bother with trivialities such as legibility. So when I find these notes later, it’s like I’ve woken up with a hangover and a poor memory of what when down in my semi-conscious stupor. The only thing I have to go by is a string of cryptic hints.
‘Go Wednesday 3 x Spaghetti.’
‘Ah-haha! It’d be so funny if £Tüî†aa∆k.’
‘Urgent! Change bit in book where man dinghy mango.’
I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what this girl, Torre, was thinking when she crafted this code language. Surely she was trying to say something genius? And more importantly, why do I refer to my more intelligent side in the third person?
When I can’t figure it out, the notes are thrown away, and my ideas for world domination are lost forever.
It’s sad, really. I should be more organized. In my ideal world, I’d have a favorite notebook which I’d wear on a string around my neck. We’d never part, not even to bathe (and especially not while watching Breaking Bad). My notebook would have thick sheets, and with my giant feathered quill, I’d capture every idea in beautiful script with over-stated curlicues. The journal would be bound with Indian Jones leather, and it’d smell like horse saddle, newspapers, fresh linen, and fond childhood memories.
Then, my life would be neat and orderly. My brilliant ideas would be captive in the pages of a book, not fluttering around the room like a suicidal moth, bashing into windows, exploding wing dust and brains all over the place.
For now, my kamikaze ideas lie crumpled in drawers, or stuck to the bottom of my shoe, tacked on by someone else’s gum.
So when a new invention comes out—like the iPhone—I wonder: did someone just find my Post-it note for that idea on the bottom of their shoe? And will ‘Dog Kindle’ soon be the latest bestselling gizmo?!
You see, I know that deep inside of me, there’s a genius trying to get out and that maybe, if the uncooperative person on the outside could be a little more organized, she’d buy herself a nice notebook, archive the incredible ideas, and then win an award for greatness. A Nobel Prize, most likely.
But I think that I’ll stay notebook free and disorganized, because life’s much more fun when you get to indulge the fantasy that you’re a closet genius.
How do you stay organized? Do you keep all your ideas in one place, or do you carry your genius ideas around on the bottom of your shoe?
Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.