Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Just Put the Lotion Where it Belongs, Forget About the Basket

When I sat at my desk and started reorganizing it, I spent at least 85% of the time sorting through old bills. One pile was to be shredded. This pile was about two feet high. Another pile was bills that had been paid but which I wanted to file away. This pile expanded beyond the limits of measurement available to me at the time (my tape measure only extends to twenty-four feet).

You see, once the bills were paid, I had procrastinated filing them. This led to the problem of a swirling void of useless paperwork which occupied the corner of my desk and slowly grew as it fed on junk mail and my desire to procrastinate. The pile of paper itself was unsightly but not all that bad of itself. The existence of this pile, however, led to me needing to create a third category for a new pile of papers. This was the Holy Crap How Did That Get In There pile.

There was the occasional gift card received as a rebate for a purchase. A few mementos like Father’s Day poems with my sons’ handprints in finger-paint on them were recovered. I felt a bit embarrassed that I had let my organizational skills fall in to such disarray (have you ever watched the show Hoarders?), but I reckoned at least I was getting it taken care of.

Then I found something that really embarrassed me. I found a sizable check that a company had sent us to correct an overpayment balance. This is money that could have definitely been used. It wasn’t enough to buy that lake house I’ve always wanted, but it was large enough that some holiday spending stress could have been relieved. Ok, so it wasn’t a six-month-old slice of pizza that growled at me for disturbing its slumber and it wasn’t the remain of a long lost family pet we had sworn had run away, but the fact that it could have been worse had no soothing effect on my pride.

This caused me to undertake a massive change in method of sorting through bills and papers: No baskets!

It would seem that a receptacle in which to set something I didn’t feel like putting in its proper place just yet, spawned laziness and procrastination. Instead of dispatching business in a timely fashion, crossing the proverbial bridge as I came to it, I threw my problems into my good friend the To Be Filed basket, which quickly became the To Be Filed pile, which then became the To Be Filed area of my desk, so named because you could no longer even see that there was a basket underneath it. But I knew it was there. I knew.

So now, as soon as the mail comes in, it gets placed on the computer keyboard and I also leave no basket of inviting area that it might gravitate to nearby. This way, when I sit down to do something important, like play old NES games online, I have to get rid of the paperwork first, and the option of just throwing it into that basket which I will get to three years from now doesn’t even exist.

An even more effective technique occurs when I get a new comic book in the mail the same day. The comic book goes on the bottom. In order to obtain it for my reading pleasure, I must run the gamut of mundane, adult responsibility that lies above it.

So here’s to growing up a little more each day, or at least once every few months. Should I not post one day, feel free to picture me at my desk swearing over old papers in an effort to access my keayboard.

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