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Organizing Space for Quality Downtime

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Organization Nerd


One skill of mine that has kept me on track most of the time as a person that lives with Bipolar Disorder, is my ability to organize space, paperwork, and ideas. It’s also one of the things I listed on my last article on recovering after a holiday depression that I needed to put into practice.


As part of my three-year review at the university where I work, I am tasked with creating a portfolio, which covers the last three years’ worth of work that I’ve completed or participated in during that time. The portfolio is divided into three main areas: Teaching & Advising, Scholarship & Research, and Church & Community Service.


Time for QOL Reflection


In building this portfolio, I had begun to do some reflecting on the past few years as well, and it being the end of 2014, and heading into 2015, reflection just seemed like the right time to take stock of my Quality of Life (QOL).

I have decided that my work life has really taken over everything and I have become very unbalanced. I realized that, even though I have quite a few accomplishments in all three areas, I feel like I have seriously lacked in the QOL category. That is, I have no personal life. Few friends, no dating prospects, little quality time with family, and my down time has been more frenetic that I want it to be.


Oh, I’ve been working on learning how to Zentangle this year, and I fully enjoy it. However, my work space and my crafting/art space vies for my attention on my small desk at home and invariably, I give up and spend most of my quiet time on Pinterest or Facebook; not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that, just not how I want it to be.


Taking Action Stepsphoto 2


So, I decided to take a beautiful window space in my home office (which used to be my front living room) and I set up a large folding table there for the sole purpose of journaling, crafting, Zentangle, and artwork.


photo 1I went to a couple of all-purpose stores and purchased some simple office supplies and containers to organize my materials. I set everything out so that I can easily reach anything – pencils, markers, and stickers – without getting up and disturbing my “flow”. Now I have a dedicated area for writing and studying and another area dedicated to my artistic past times.


I am very excited, and I’ve already sat at the table in the window and crafted, basking in the afternoon sunshine and feeling totally at peace. I understand not everyone has the luxury of having a large space like I do. But, if you can start with a small space, some decorated cans, bottles or mugs for your supplies, and a comfortable chair, it may prompt some quality down time for you too.


What are Your Next Steps?


I look forward to sharing more as I work through my recovery from this most recent depressive episode, and hearing from you about what has worked for you during what can be difficult winter months.

Organizing Space for Quality Downtime

Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

September 29, 2014 Lisa Keith,Lisa.Keith Psy.D. is a 20-plus year veteran special education teacher who has taught grades K-12 and now teaches graduate students who want to grow up to be special ed. teachers. When she’s not teaching or academically engaged, she is completely engrossed in 49er football or the art of Zentangle. A typical day for Lisa begins at 4 a.m. to check email, Pinterest and journal, followed by a hefty dose of coffee and hours of study. You can learn more about her here:

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APA Reference
, . (2014). Organizing Space for Quality Downtime. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2019, from


Last updated: 29 Dec 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Dec 2014
Published on All rights reserved.