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Unmanageable Me by Barbara Rady Kazdan

Background photo: Undisclosed/PDP, CC0.
Manipulation and design layout: Elizabeth Stark

I procrastinate. Try it. It’s a big time saver. My motto: Always put off till tomorrow what doesn’t need doing today. The dry cleaner says, “Friday.”

You think, “See ya when I see ya.”

Check each entry on your to-do list. Ask yourself, does this have to be done right away? This week? No? Fageddaboutit.

I create new systems for managing papers, clothes, whatever – then forget the new rules for where things go. So, hunting for stuff uses up all the time I’ve saved by procrastinating.

“Do you make lists like Mom and I do, Grandma?” my granddaughter asked.

“No, honey. I didn’t get that gene.”

Recently, her list-making mother, long-resigned to my “enter at your own risk” home office, couldn’t contain herself.

“Mom,” she chided, “move the files in those folder-holders into drawers. It’s bad Feng Shui to see them sitting out on the credenza.” Hope she’s happy. Now, instead of quickly stuffing papers into in-plain-sight folders, I play Eenie, Meenie, Miny Mo to find the right file drawer. But hey, the Feng Shui’s fabulous.

I do make grocery lists. Do I peek at the list when I’m at the store? No. Do I get home and realize I forgot something? Often. It’s just a little game I play to make life interesting.

My never-throw-anything-away mentality wreaks havoc with electronic files, too. A writing instructor fanned the flames of my hoarding habits. “Don’t delete any files,” she advised. “Create an archives folder for all versions except the final one.”

Did I follow her advice? Briefly, like every other shiny new system I try and soon abandon.

Don’t get me wrong: I understand the benefits of having a place for everything and everything in its place. “This purse is new,” I explained to my friend, as I fished around for my credit card while our waiter waited.

“Changing purses is always a problem,” she agreed. “You have to decide where everything goes and stick to the plan.”

Good advice. Wish I’d followed it. Every day I have at least one hair-on-fire moment when I’ve checked and rechecked every zipped and unzipped compartment – deftly designed to keep contents organized – until I’m sure I’ve lost my phone. At home, unlike my children and theirs, my phone isn’t attached to my person. Don’t ask how often I grab my iPad to use the “Find My Phone” app.

While my tolerance of tumult keeps me stumbling and bumbling through life, I’ve come to appreciate the little obstacle course I create for myself each day. Even if I could I wouldn’t change my never-twice-the-same approach to just about everything. Disorderly conduct blasts away boredom.

Toto-on alert
Toto on alert.
What’s around the bend?
Toto, Dog Days card-2
Toto, Dog Days Card




Barbara Rady Kazdan












Always asking, “Why?” “Why not?” and “What’s next?” solo, sassy Barbara Rady Kazdan loves back roads travel and forward thinking. One question sparked and sustained her career as a social entrepreneur:  Why accept the status quo when with imagination and grit you can improve it?

Barbara founded Achieving Change Together to advise and connect innovative non-profit leaders. Now through her personal essays Barbara probes possibilities and pokes fun at life. Find her enjoying close friends and her shaggy sheepdog in Silver Spring, Maryland, en route to far-flung family, and checking out what’s around the next bend. Sample her essays at and


EB Stark View All

Author-in-hiding, Digital Artist-in-training, Student-in-perpetuum

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