One of the perils of being irrepressibly creative is that there is always time to start new projects and never enough time to file away the results of the last project. As a result, I have a desk that looks like the aftermath of an explosion and a workshop that has enough work in progress for a shop twice its size.
There is supposed to be an optimum balance between organizing and producing. I understand that it should be 25-30 percent organization at the beginning of any project and perhaps 10 percent organization during the remainder of any project.
I am pretty good at limiting the initial organization to 25 percent, but my level of continuing organization quickly drops to around 2 percent which means that I clear away only enough space in which to do immediate tasks.
I am fortunate my interests do not extend to designing or reworking vehicles. If that were the case, my surroundings might look like some of the homes on the back roads in this part of the country. You will often see a tricked-out muscle car or pickup near the front door and a series of partially restored vehicles scattered about the yard. It’s always easier to confront a new task than to pick up the pieces and restart an interrupted task.
Fortunately for me and for my neighbors, I am married to someone who typifies organization in the best way possible. In Gretchen’s office, everything is neatly arranged within reach. Her monitor, unlike mine, is not festooned with stickies. Instead she has calendars with neatly written appointments and a Handspring Visor that sounds off when it is time to make conference calls.
Even with a full work schedule (she telecommutes), her desk stays clean. The pictures of her family and usual vase of flowers stay upright and visible without being covered by the windrows of paper that grace any surface I work on.
When the top of my desk has been covered with paperwork for several weeks and my wallet and keys keep disappearing for days at a time, Gretchen comes to my rescue. She will actually take the time to sit and supervise me while I dekludge my desk. The usual result is that I need to buy more filing space even though she gets me to throw out some of my paperwork.
We have been working on this problem for the last twelve years and I’d like to say that I have been making progress. Yes and no. Yes I am getting better at filing and organizing than before, but my production has doubled in the last few years, so the net result is ahhh… not impressive.
I have more storage cabinets and more workspace in my office than ever before, but I have a greater volume of unfiled reports, photographs and designs in piles on my desk, on the cabinets and in the corners of my office.
Before my desk disappears from view entirely, I am going to have Gretchen help me out again. Perhaps I will have a breakthrough this time that will address the fundamental issues that underlie this state of affairs. I’ll let you know how it goes. I shudder to think that I might have to cut back on production….