I have noticed that I am far from alone in my constant quest for order and organization. It is an integral of living in a wealthy country. Even if you are so-called "lower or middle class", believe me, you are wealthy if you have too many things to keep them in order easily.
Sometimes I think I am a procrastinator. But when I stop and analyze what's really happening, it's more a problem of a lack of order in different areas. For example...
Ain't it purty?
I set out to do that...but I'd like some music playing while I do this. I go to my computer (uh-oh) to find something to play. I thought it would be nice to listen to the Bach Double Violin Concerto that I will be playing next spring in a chamber concert. I can't find it in my iTunes. I know I had it in there at some point...maybe that was a couple of computers ago. Hubby, being a computer guy, keeps me in the latest and greatest computers, but that means every couple years I go to a new machine and sometimes things get lost in the process.
Soooo...now I'm searching for the Bach Double, and I realize what a mess my iTunes is. Ooh, I really do need to completely reorganize my iTunes...I somehow manage to steer clear that project for now, and move on to see if the Bach Double is in my daughter's iTunes. I don't see her share on my iTunes, which isn't right. It's always there!
Suddenly I have a flash of inspiration and I simply must sit down and write a blog entry about this disorganization and how the ultimate goal is actually to never have these endless hunts for things I need to get my hands on. So I go to my blog and discover that my internet is down. (So that's why my daughter's shared music doesn't show up.) Oh well, I can write this in Wordpad for now and when hubby comes home and gets the internet back up, I'll post it to the blog.
Ahh...now I'm finally getting something accomplished!
When he comes home, I go to greet him at the door, and as I walk through the family room I see my pants slung over the back of the couch and I remember what I started out trying to accomplish, and then I see the table still covered with everything from the now clear kitchen and dining room, and as I retrace all my steps in the last hour I see what a zig-zag I am on!!
~~~I'm starving! Time to find some food - I'll be back!~~~
Ahh, that was good. Ok, now back to work.
Another common complaint is being constantly sidetracked when we are trying to get things done. Of course what I described above is all about being sidetracked. We usually think of being sidetracked as a bad thing, but I'm looking at that again, wondering if it really is a bad thing. It is bad if it keeps you off-goal. But what about side-tracks that are within that goal?
My ultimate goal is to have a place for everything and have everything in its place. At this stage, I have many many areas that are out of order and it's impossible to work on one area without the others encroaching. Since I have to do them all eventually, what difference does it make if I get sidetracked into another area before the first one is done? It may feel more scattered at the moment, but ultimately I will finish it all. Whether I do it one area at a time until it is done, or a little at each area along the way, I don't think it will matter in the end. So I'm not going to bash myself, or try to re-route myself as much when I get sidetracked, as long as I am still aiming for the same goal!
As my hubby loves to say, "Go with the flow". Some of my most productive days are the most scattered. I am not focused on just one thing, but flitting like a butterfly from one thing to another all day long, wondering if I'm getting anything done. At the end of the day I make a list of all I did get done and it's impressive.
Other days I am zeroed in on one specific task and I keep at it until it is finished. That is also a very productive day. There certainly are more ways than one of getting your goals accomplished!
I think the most important thing is to clarify exactly what the goal is. I do think baby steps are a very helpful tool. If I tell myself to "organize the crafts" - that includes my desk and all its drawers, the extra little drawers beside the desk, the steamer trunk full of stuff, and another chest of 3 deep drawers that is also quite full. Oh, and there are more drawers in the dining room that I forgot about. I'm overwhelmed already, just making that list! Oh, and I forgot those three boxes under the craft table--EEEEEK!
I need to cut this down to size. I ~~~
~~~ just got totally sidetracked, looking up on google about what ever happened to the hanging indent!! Remember in school - if you're over 50 like me - they always taught you to indent the paragraphs 5 spaces. Nowadays you never see that except in books. I just spent the last 15 minutes reading all about it...yikes...I gotta get focused!
Yes, I need to cut this project down to size!
Don't have the whole project in your mind at once when you begin the actual work. You've got to break it down into pieces you can handle. If you have the entire house and every mess in your mind, you will not get very far. It's just too big, so take it down a few notches to just one room, or even just a corner of a room. Don't let yourself stray from that small part until you feel satisfied with it. That doesn't mean you can't move to a different area before you have finished the first corner completely. Just try to stay on task until you reach a good resting point. Then you can decide if you want to stay with this spot or move on to another.
It's far too easy to reach mental overload if you let yourself look at the whole entire household. You don't have to perfect your entire house in one weekend, or a month, or even a year. It will be a life-long pursuit, so relax and enjoy the journey!
Ok. Just imagine if everything did have a place of its own and everything were in its place all the time except when it's being used. My grandmother's house was like that. She knew exactly where everything was, from every kitchen utensil, all the way up to the steamer trunks full of family heirlooms in the attic, and everything in between! Her house was always immaculately clean and orderly. She had set routines, but she never struck me as rigid or overly strict. She was the most "moderate" person I have ever known. She didn't overeat, or over-spend. She had no vices. She took a walk outside almost every day of her life. She never swore. She kept a neat, clean, very warm and welcoming home for a very very long time. She lived to be just a few months shy of 105. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. She had a huge influence on me and I want to emulate those qualities in my own life. I am so far from it!! But I keep at it and I think someday I will get there.