Thursday, 16 February 2017

Procrastination and Clutter

Today's Think Write Thursday prompt is to "write about something you've been putting off doing. We all have those tasks, projects, phone calls and more that we find excuses to avoid. What are you procrastinating about? And why? And, finally, how are you going to address it?"

I'm afraid I've always been a good procrastinator. I've always worked best when a deadline or appointment time are involved.  

A couple of things I've been procrastinating on: the huge decluttering project my home requires, and finishing my novel. The two are in fact connected.

I was about nine years old when my mom returned to university as a part-time student. Our home had always been fairly clutter-free up until that point, but with work and now studying to do, my mom began accumulating papers and books that spread their way across our relatively small space. As I grew and the complexity of my own schooling intensified, I too became a collector of papers and books. And of course I've also always been an avid reader, so bringing home all those library materials didn't help the problem. They might not take up permanent residence, but were merely swapped with replacements on an on-going basis.

Today papers and books make up the majority of my clutter. No sooner do I get an area cleared than it is cluttered again. Though I've read much about various processes for dealing with it, none have yet worked for me on a long-term basis. It's an overwhelming job besides, and I'm the only one who can do it because most of the papers and books are mine. If anyone else tackles it, they'll be in trouble.

Clutter brings another problem in addition to the visual mess. It requires time to maintain, eliminate, rearrange, etc. It also saps mental energy, which is how it's connected to the completion of my novel. Creativity declines when there is no space for it to thrive in. You're always frustrated when you look around and see that there's no place for you to work and your environment is not conducive to the production of creative juices.

How I'm going to address it: I've already determined that the clutter has to shrink considerably. I've posted a number of books for sale on Amazon, though I may end up just donating them to my favourite thrift store. Amazon book sales are just not swift enough to make a noticeable dent on my shelves and surfaces. Perhaps I will create a paper clutter room, gather up all of the offending papers and take thirty minutes a day to go through them and get rid of those that are not absolutely necessary to keep. My husband would toss it all without looking, but I know there are important documents among them, so that doesn't work for me.

It will take a while, I know. I plan to take before and after photos, to show how much better my home looks without all of this paper mess. And if I keep at it, little by little, day after day, eventually (two months? three?), it will go. The trick will be to deal immediately with new papers that enter so that they don't add to the problem. 

No excuses: no one can say s/he doesn't have enough time. We all have the same 24 hours each day that Mother Teresa did, so one person can accomplish as much as s/he sets his/her mind to. Energy might be an issue, especially at this time of year when it is cold and gets dark early, but as you expend the effort and see results, it's difficult not to be invigorated. When you've found momentum, keep going!

Please let me know if you have any tips to share. I need all the help I can get!
To join Think Write Thursday, visit Carole here.


  1. I think you are right, when you find momentum - it inspires you to keep going! Good luck!


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