I like to think of myself as an organised person. My house is relatively tidy most of the time, save for the multiple projects that get dragged out and end up scattered all over my living room. I have a place for everything and most of the time everything is in its place. I can find anything that I need pretty much immediately, the house is passable for unexpected guests and can be cleaned from top to bottom within an hour for expected guests.
But lately I have realised that my home organisation isn't anything to do with a matron-like tendency to make everything ship-shape and bristol fashion - but more of a desperate habit of keeping my surroundings in order and under control because my brain cannot cope otherwise.
I panic when I cannot find something. Not finding something when I am trying to leave the house means that I will be late, and I hate turning up after something has already started, or making someone wait for me.
Being surrounded by clutter makes me feel as though I am not in control. Perhaps that is because I sit in it too much. I spend far too many hours of the day sitting in my house which leads me to being far too familiar with all possessions, and familiarity, of course, breeds contempt.
I am a procrastinator. Big Style. A daydreamer. An Escapist (which is different than an escapologist although I can think of some handy uses for that too). I daydream my future life, get bored of the dream, and try another one. And when I do finally start to make some progress, I am so willingly distracted.
The phone rings, I answer it. I revel in a long conversation because that takes me away from all of the things that I don't want to do. Added to that, I spend so much of my day in solitude that I am delighted at contact from another human being. I even felt disappointed yesterday when the guy who came round to sell Sky TV didn't accept my invite of a cup of tea and a chat.
I check my email and find a message from an old friend who has taken weeks to reply, and I decide to respond straight away (and then spend the next hour giving them the latest update on my life, which is no different that the previous email because I haven't actually managed to change anything except my thoughts and daydreams).
I am a great planner. I have lots of To Do lists. But most of the items are things that I don't actually want to be doing, but feel that I should, and because I don't get round to doing them I add them to the list day after day after day. And the things that I want to be doing, I start but never finish, because I feel guilty for not spending time doing the things that I don't want to be doing...
New Potential Man (second date tonight, so far so good) recommended "The 4-hour Work Week" by Timothy Ferriss, given that I was looking for ways to make money that don't involve getting sucked in to the 9 to 5. I looked at the Definition section yesterday - all about defining your goals, working out which were most important, setting very close and 'unrealistic' deadlines to keep it exciting. And then there was Pareto's Law (the 80/20 rule) and Parkinson's Law ('Work expands to fill the time allocated to completing it' - guilty as charged...)
Today I have been reading the Elimination section, and the suggestions are fantastic. Here are a few:
- Check your email at 12noon and 4pm only, and create an autoresponse telling people that you only check your email at these times and if it is urgent they can contact you on your cell phone.
- Put your regular phone on to voicemail at all times, with a similar message, checking twice a day.
- Use specific phrases that prevent people from chatting to you on the phone.
- Get rid of cubicle interuptions at work by wearing a headset and pretending to be on a call, so that when you speak to them, they get to the point because they think they are interrupting you.
- Avoid unnecessary meetings by asking to be listed first on the agenda and then dropping out after you have presented.
I guess I have a lot to learn in the productivity stakes. First though, I need to re-read the book so that I can properly work through it. I think I'll add that to my To Do list....