I’ve always been an organized chaos kind of guy. My desk tends to be covered with paperwork, for example, both at work and at home. I also keep tools nearby, be it computer repair gadgets, note-taking and outlining tools, or photography gear. Most people look at it and see a mess, but to me I’ve got everything close at hand.
The problem with a “system” like that is the moment you fall behind, the piles get bigger and quickly overwhelm the rest of the office. Following the events of the past few months, I now have two offices overflowing with crap.
The organized chaos then becomes an impediment to productivity. My home office then starts to feel like a burden rather than a blessing, and the day job starts to look overwhelming. It doesn’t help that the kids sometimes play in my home office, thus adding to the mess, and at work I just came off the busiest time of year, the start of the school year. Pretty soon I look around and don’t even know where to start, and I’m tempted to just turn on the television or open up Firefox and veg out.
I’ve finally had enough (again). Clean-up started in the home office yesterday and at work today. By the end of the week I hope to have an After picture that looks much nicer, and maybe a picture of the home office that doesn’t make me look like a total slob. Old books that didn’t sell at the garage sale will get packed away so the bookshelf will be neater. Old electronics — in both offices — will be hauled to recycling. All the old paperwork gets tossed, shredded, or burned, depending upon their content.
I’ve only made small dents so far, but it already feels a lot better. I kept telling myself I’d get to them after the major projects I’ve been concentrating on, I’d get to it when I have time. The problem with thinking like that is there’s always another major project. If it’s not rolling out computer images, it’s installing a lab or preparing for testing. If it’s not the Winter Kill sequel, it’ll be Sick Day or Chimaera. Time to end that backward thinking.
Any other writers out there in the same boat, it may be a good time to join me in the fall cleanup because National Novel Writing Month is a week away! I’ll be wrapping another book so I won’t be eligible this year, but best of luck to those of you participating. Start stacking the deck in your favor now.