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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hitting My Wall

Every so often my office gets so cluttered I can't work in there. The desk is piled with paperwork. Stacks of magazines gather dust on the side table because I mean to get to pages I've dog-eared, listing a website I want to check out or an article that merits rereading. I can't open the door all the way because my yoga stuff and my weights are behind it (oh yeah, I mean to get to that, too) and the bookshelves are, shall we say, overwhelmed.

It's time to take a day to clean it out so I can get some work done.

The same becomes true of my calendar from time to time. I'm attracted to this party and that event. I want to do everything, say yes to everything, so I load up the dates. When I do, there's that word again: overwhelmed.

It's not all bad. When I get overwhelmed I give up on office tasks and do something physical. This is how the yard work gets done.

What's your trick for handling life when you're overloaded?

19 comments:

Dina said...

Funny, I just reached that same stage yesterday. Time to start filing, sorting, making new lists, tossing.
My desk has archaeological strata of ancient papers. It is overwhelming, true.

Turquoise Diaries said...

Good luck with that..The not so working trick I found myself is to use a big and large notebook instead of all the different size of papers to take notes. I try to write or glue everything to that..The best part is that when I am looking for something I know that its written somewhere in it..

Carla said...

I know the feeling. We are surrounded by clutter and spent the morning trying to re-arrange it. Love your photos. Carla

Mister Earl said...

I think the internet is responsible for most of the things in my house that overwhelm me. It's the time I spend on here that takes away. When I get overwhelmed I try to focus on one thing at a time, one day at a time.

WV: cocroc. I'm not touching this one, although I do play music. We don't call it this.

Petrea said...

Archaeological strata! Oh Dina, isn't that the truth. Some of it goes all the way back to teh last time I cleaned the office.

TD, that's not a bad idea. I have lots of little notes on small bits of paper. Each one of them belongs somewhere...

Bonjour Carla! I just peeked at your blog and I see you've posted some new shots. Busy lives make clutter. We need secretaries.

Mister Earl: Focus. I'll give it a try.

Greg Sweet said...

DONKEYS!!

Bellis said...

I'm overwhelmed by my house and garden all the time, and my solution is to run away from it by taking the dog for a long, long walk. You've just given me an excuse for escaping today - I have to find where that piece of wood is. Your photo makes it look so beautiful.

PS. I think Turquoise Diaries' idea is excellent.

Susan Campisi said...

Doing something physical helps me too: taking Tommy on a hike or a long walk around the neighborhood.

Mister Earl's approach helps when it's time to face the piles again. It reminds me of "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott. The title comes from this anecdote: when she was a kid and her brother had to write a school paper on birds and he was overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the books laid out before him on the table (before the Internet of course), his dad sat down and put his arm around him and said "Bird by bird, buddy. Bird by bird."

Or something like that.

Susan Campisi said...

Just want to add I like the photo.

Clifford Beshers said...

Still looking...

P.S. No Pie Night for me this year. Looking forward to your report.

Petrea said...

NO DONKEYS ON MY LAWN!

Whew.

Straight north of the drinking fountain on the easternmost path, Bellis.

Susan: dog walking is a life-saver. Also bird-counting.

Bummer, Cliff! I'll be making pies this afternoon. Boz is very excited.

Linda Dove said...

Heh, this too is what I've been up to. Last week, the kid went back to school, so this week, it's time to get organized. I thought cleaning my office would take a day. It took five. The whole week. At the bottom of the piles--on the floor, on the counter, on the desk, on the shelves--were many papers from the spring of 2008. That's when we moved here. Yep, I was working in three years worth of strata. Yikes.

I love this board photo. Plywood patterns are cool.

WV: mutmesse

Mutmesse: I certainly cleaned a lot of that this week, in the way of doghair dust bunnies....

Lori Webster said...

I wish I had time to figure that out, Petrea. I guess when things get overwhelming (like for the past 3 years), we just roll the windows of the car down and enjoy the ride home.

Petrea said...

Ha! Linda, I won't discuss the mutmesse in my office. We've been here five years. I hope it's not that old, but it's old.

Lori: poignant and sweet.

Melanie Neslo said...

I usually go outside and work in the yard too (and channel my inner farmer a little bit), which is wonderful!

But then I come back in the house and realize that while outside some kind of little house fairies didn't come in and take care of the chores that I didn't want to do in the first place...and then that just kind of ticks me off...

J+P said...

HEFFALUMPS!!

Latino Heritage said...

Paperwork is my Sisyphus Stone.
To counter this I water or weed. Or turn on some Laura Nyro, Lila Downs, Los Lobos, or Ruben Blades - singing and dancing until I'm breathing deeply again.

Ms M said...

Like some other posters here, I do long walks when feeling overwhelmed. Because we moved to a different house earlier this summer, I was "very motivated" to purge things. Now, I have to watch that I don't start gathering too much again....
I like Turquoise Diaries' idea, too. I have too many little notepads and stick-ums on my desk.

Petrea said...

Melanie, if I recall correctly, you have little house fairies of a different sort. It's probably worse when you get back inside.

No HEFFALUMPS on my lawn!

Sisyphus is a good word for it, Roberta.

Moving is a great motivator, isn't it, Ms. M? Like spring cleaning. I think I'll practice that mindset and dig in. We're expecting a heat wave this week--cleaning my office is a nice, indoor, air-conditioned activity.