I once had a co-worker tell me that, while not suicidal, she couldn't wait to die. "I just think it will be a really interesting experience," she explained, while I groped for a suitable reply.
It was one of those conversations that you know, while you're having it, your brain is running through a quantity of cells in order to burn the moment in your long-term memory. When I'm 90, I may not remember what I had for breakfast, but by golly, I'll still be trying to figure out if the aforementioned colleague was a nitwit or really was a genius after all.
More recently, I had a conversation with a different co-worker, this one an unambiguous genius, that's given me plenty of food for thought. I admitted that I've been down for the count on the Organization front. "It's Just Too Hard," I said, quite as if going through a box of old papers or folding the laundry on a regular basis was akin to training for an Iron Man event. At high altitude. In, like, July.
Somehow, my organization efforts stalled out this fall due to what I call the "but first" syndrome: I need to organize my papers, but first I need to get a new file cabinet, but before I do that I have to decide where it goes, but first I need to clear some space, which would mean going through some papers. . . And just like that, I've painted myself into a neat, little,impossible corner.
I tried explaining this to Emily, but she wasn't buying it. "Sounds like you have an all-or-nothing thing going on," she said. In one sentence, she described exactly, precisely what's been going on, and why I've been stuck in organizational slo-mo for the last month or more.
The All-or-Nothing Approach is offspring to that productivity killer, Perfectionism. Does it really matter if I find exactly the same type of label for my spice jars that I used the last time I made new labels a couple years ago? Must I really use the same font--or re-do all the labels as my punishment? Because that's what it feels like at times, punishment. What's the point of that?
So this week's mantra for me is: something's better than nothing. "A little" is just fine; it creates a foundation on which progress builds, one step at a time.
Photo by Alpay Ulku