Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting it all done

Last week Tallgrass Prairie Studio posted a spring to finish challenge.  Alas I could not get organized enough to even make a list of what I want to do & by when.  This is in large part because of my complete inability to close the door on any project without opening several more doors & even a few windows.  I tried, I honestly tried to at least take a moment to see where I stand.  It turns out, I am standing in a hole.

It begins & ends with my workroom.  Oh no, don't look at it.  Just trust me when I say I could easily star in an entire season of hoarders.  Every few ...... years I DO get everything organized & sorted (it is always so delightful to find that new, old stuff!) but I just cannot work that way.  I really need to stare at things while I think about them.  I cannot say to myself, there is that object, folded away in that box that just needs a binding; I need to see the object all mashed up in a basket & the binding, sewn but not pressed, hanging from the lamp.

This is not limited to my current workroom (which is mine, all mine & no one else's d*mn business, so there!).  I had this problem professionally as well.  In the days when I had an office, it was a very bare office (because I cannot hang a picture to save my own life), with a great big formal desk, deliberately big enough for several people to use as a work table & credenza with all kinds of filing drawers & a snazzy upholstered chair for me & two more for whomever might need to work with me & floor-to-ceiling shelves along one entire wall & all the things that are supposed to be prized above rubies in the office real estate stakes.

What can I say.  The shelves I used, but this business of putting books right side up, with all the spines going in one direction never really caught on with me.  It was hard to get to the chairs because they usually had half unpacked boxes of paper files, old floppy discs, newer-but-not-new hard disks, disk drives that had been ripped out of confiscated machines & then wired to whichever monitor/tower combo was closest & left sort of hanging there.   The desk drawers were mostly empty except for a few pens, pencils & packages of steno pads (I have a teeny-tiney OKay, great big but manageable spiral notebook addiction); I preferred to keep everything in piles on the desk top. & the end tables.  I did not mention the little tables that had been artfully placed around the room for lamps & coffee cups.  They had to be removed to clear floor space because it turns out I would much rather have stacks & stacks of CAFRs (think phone books-old style everybody listed at least once + yellow pages in the same cover phone books).  They make pretty good plant stands, side tables, etc. & it does not matter if they get coffee rings or anything as they will all be recycled in the end.  Also, they can be an interesting way to wile away a dull afternoon.

SIDEBAR:   CAFR stands for Comprehensive Annual Financial Report & is a kind of state of all things money for government units like cities, counties, states, etc.  I used to request them from the 50 largest cities in the country, all the state capitals, any potential client, every current client, etc. every year as a matter of course.  These were the old days when they were unlikely to be on-line & I was not joking when I said they were fun.  The year The Firm was released, the City of Memphis had color photos of all the major players having meet&greets with local politicians in the center of their CAFR.  It was while cruising Las Vegas' CAFR that I learned they amortized the city-owned cemetery plots.  If you do not think this is fascinating, next time you are having cocktails with a real estate attorney, work it into the conversation, trust me, it will cause a stir.

The short version is on my best day, my office looked like a tornado had gone through & then made a few return visits to specific points.  It made my boss insane (when people came to the office, he would either close the door or move a very large potted plant smack in the middle of the doorway).  But there was no denying I was productive.  At the end of any given project when I did clean everything up & pack it away, the room was so shiny it hurt my head & I could not work.

Now I suffer (enjoy!) the same state in my workroom.  This means I do get things done the way I want to.  It also means I cannot make a list of what I want to complete & have any faith that it is complete accurate, feasible.  I admire people who can, but I wouldn't want to be them.

1 comment:

  1. I have a sign "A clean desk is a sign of a sick mind."

    Works for me.