Now, I like when things are all neat and tidy. It’s calming.
But you’ll rarely see my workspace in such an idyllic state. (See the photographic evidence? That’s my desk on a good day.)
For the ultra-curious, no, I’m not writing this blog post at my desk because then, I’d have to clean off my desk. I’m at the [not-quite-so-cluttered] dining room table.
I think a lot of household tasks are like that — in order to accomplish one goal (use the laptop on the desk), you need to complete a few pre-requisite tasks first. I mean, you can’t just swipe off your desk with your forearm.
Stuff has to be put away.
That 20% coupon has to go in my coupon bag. Those rubrics have to stay where I can see them or I’ll freak out when I have to grade papers and can’t find them. That Erroneous Zones book — which is really pissing me off so far, but more on that later — has to make it somewhere near the bookshelf, but it can’t actually go on the bookshelf or else I’ll forget to finish reading it.
CUDDLE UP IN MY BRAIN FOR A MOMENT, WON’T YOU?
Clutter is stressful to me, but cleaning up that clutter is just as heavy. One task begets another, and I often get so sidetracked while cleaning that I forget what I was doing in the first place. Let me take you on a guided tour of my brain for a minute. Go ahead. Hop in. Here we go:
Oh, it’s almost time for dinner. I should probably wash off that cast iron pan in the sink before I do the stir fry, but the sink is full. Shit. I should probably put the dishes into the dishwasher.
Wait — balls. The dishwasher is full of clean dishes, so I guess I should put those away first.
But I hate putting away dishes. Ugh. You know what’ll make it better? Listening to a good podcast. Or some NPR news. Let me find my iPad so I can use the NPR app or the Podcasts app or something.
Maybe there’s a new Planet Money or a 99% Invisible — yes! There is! I win. Oh good; an episode about the I <3 NY symbol. Sounds interesting. This should get me through the dishes.
Wait, why is my goddamn internet so slow again? I can’t download this right now. Guess I’ll have to reset the router again. While I wait for it to reset, I should probably pick up the — whoa, I’m really hungry.
I should grab a granola bar to have before dinner because I don’t want my blood sugar to get too low because low blood sugar = panic attack. Where are my granola bars again?
Oh, they’re in the basement on the shelf.
And then I end up in the basement for an hour, munching on a granola bar and digging around in boxes or something. And probably forgetting about dinner entirely until 9 pm when my stomach growls like a bear.
No one’s ever officially diagnosed me with ADD, but come the eff on.
(Before you wander away to wash a single dish before you realize how badly you need to organize the spice cabinet right now, check out this post’s close cousin: Before I Do This, I Need To Do That: How To Focus On A Single Task.)