Monday, December 05, 2005

The big cleanup

Yesterday we spent the day cleaning out the kids' rooms and re-organizing everything. As much as I tend to dislike that kind of work (which is one of the big reasons why it needed to be done in the first place!), it felt great to do it and get it pretty much done. Big D suggested that we all dedicate ourselves to the task for the day and we did. Although I did sneak off a few times to sip my coffee. And M Girl petered out after awhile and got to watch tv. But she's five, so that's to be expected. But it was good to see what we can accomplish when we really tackle a task full on.

Let me say that all the good organizational decisions were made by Big D - he has a good sense of organization that I just don't have. I am also far too sentimental about stuff and want to keep doo dads and tchotskes that really need to be tossed. Can I pat myself on the back for just one second and say that I spelled tchotskes right on the first try? And also, according to one website, I used the Russian spelling of the word. What's up with that? Anyway . . . moving right along. I did actually assist in the throwing away/giving away of quite a few tchotskes. Without crying. At all.

There are times I wish I was more organized and I do think I'm missing some sort of Organization Gene that my mother failed to pass to me. But if I'm being honest, I'll admit that the reason I'm not more organized is that I'm lazy. Now, because the only people that read this seem to be very nice people that say such nice things, I know you'll all chime in and say all kinds of sweet things to me (and I won't stop you) but it's true - I am lazy when it comes to making (or not making) the effort necessary to be more organized. Either I don't really WANT to be organized badly enough or I have the wrong attitude about it. I'm sure both are true.

My husband, bless him, reminds me (gently) that in order to change, you have to take every opportunity to engage in different behavior. So, if I want to be organized "someday," I need to take advantage of opportunities to organize things and I have to put forth the effort. Instead of blogging right now, I could spend fifteen minutes making some files and clearing off my desk. When I get memos or reports, instead of piling them on my desk until "later," I could actually file them or, if they don't need to be kept, throw them away or scan them and save them electronically. Instead, I want to wake up one day and BE organized without all the messy WORK involved in it. I want to read a self-help book about organization or buy the right software to attach to Microsoft Outlook and find THE ANSWER to all my organizational problems.

In the end, I know that my husband is right. No book or software program can make up for the lack of effort on my part. I know I'm capable of being more organized and I think I really want to be more organized but I don't know what's holding me back. What would be so bad about being organized that keeps me from doing it? Would it make me less creative (not that I'm so creative to begin with but you know what I mean)? Being more organized would mean I'd be able to stop wasting time searching for important things that get lost in all the crap. If I was more organized I might even have MORE time to spend doing creative things.

I've recently learned (from this great book) that often it's our irrational fears and anxiety that hold us back from doing things that the more sane and rational parts of our mind want us to do. So what am I afraid of? Why does the mere thought of being organized make me want to crawl in to bed and sleep for three days? Is it because being disorganized gives me more then enough excuses for not getting things done well or on time and if I was organized, everyone would find out that I'm really not very competent and THAT'S why I don't live up to my potential? Maybe it's because I have the perfect set up - I'm a working mom, everyone KNOWS how crazy my life is. But is it really that crazy? The shameful "secret" I carry is that I'm not as busy as I allow people to think I am. And, if I worked as hard as everyone around me (and half as hard as people THINK I work), and if I was half as competent as people think I am, I could accomplish so much. And yet . . . here I sit, at 5:00pm, in my disorganized office, with work left to do, and a wonderful family to go home to. And I'm blogging about not being organized. Now you see the problem.

So, I'm going to make a New Year's resolution. Yes, you heard me right. Although I have made many such resolutions in the past which have failed before the twelfth bell has rung, I am going to make a resolution to BE more organized going forward. And, since I've already told you all my secret, I'll let you know how it's going. Since there's no reason to wait until January 1st, I'll start now. And although I'm sure I'll be referring to all the stuff I've read and heard before, I'll try to listen to my very smart husband and simply take advantage of opportunities to BE what I say I want to be.


cmhl said...

Good for you Girl.. Being organized makes me feel like the rest of my life is going smoothly as well..

MIM said...

Hold up here, woman. First of all, I'd say your pretty stinking accomplished. Just because you you haven't written a book or you're not famous or whatever doesn't mean you haven't accomplished things. I mean, you're a successful lawyer for crying out loud! And you have a happy healthy family with a daughter who already has a career! And you recently published a short story! And you have a great blog! And you're always getting promoted at work! Maybe you should write a book on to succeed without being super organized. Now that's a bestseller waiting to happen.

Seriously, though, it's good to want more for and from yourself, but it's also good to remind yourself how much you've already accomplished. You're a winner in my book, baby!

landismom said...

I used to be a pretty well-organized person, but the stresses of parenting have made me much less organized than I want to be. I applaud you for cleaning out your kids' rooms. That's one place I find it really hard to stay organized--it's amazing how much destruction one child can create in a room in a single day, and to keep cleaning it up over and over again would defy the talents of most people.