10.23.2008

[Insert life metaphor here]

I'm packing. Even when I'm at work, even when I'm on the subway, I'm packing. I'm making lists in my head, imagining which furniture should be moved in what order, debating which clothes I really need to keep. I'm packing; for this week, it's not an act, but a way of life.

Last night I attacked my desk and as I was sifting through the top drawer, I found an insane amount of useful items. Scotch tape! Sharpie markers! Gum! As I pulled apart the drawer, I remembered when I'd organized it a year ago, making sure to put everything in its place.

But you know what happens when you put everything in it's place? YOU DON'T USE IT. You forget you have it. The least organized parts of my desk were the parts that I use the most- checkbooks and airmail stamps and an envelope of upcoming concert tickets were thrown in haphazardly.

One small plastic box makes my point quite nicely. I stumbled across it, filled with the buttons and extra thread you get with sweaters these days, and literally gasped out loud. In all the packing, I'd set aside a couple of billion buttons that have been floating around the room aimlessly for the past year. "I should put these in an envelope or something," I thought to myself just the other night. Turns out, I'd already solved the problem months ago, but had since forgotten.

Let me say that again: I'd already solved the problem, but had since forgotten.

How often do we encounter problems and not recognize that we've already done the work to solve them? What prevents us from keeping those solutions close at hand and using them as tools, instead of marking them 'complete' and shoving them on a shelf to gather dust until we retrieve them?

I found a drawer full of solutions that were too organized to be accessible. I feel sure that part of the problem was that the sheer volume of crap in the drawers made me reluctant to even go through them and maybe that's a first step in being better about organization. When there's less noise, you can better see what you're looking for... and you don't have to strain your eyes to find it.

One more metaphorical vote for Hibernation '08, check.

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