Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 2012 Project: New Years Resolutions (or: You've Gotta Make Clutter to Eliminate Clutter)

Two bookshelves, or " one more thing that needs organizing"
New Year's Resolutions. The umpteenth post you've seen on them in the last two weeks. I humbly beg your indulgence on what is to follow...

Every year I start right out of the gate ready to change. The plan is to improve every part of my life I have an issue with, turning it into some idealized, imaginary version. You can guess how well that works. Much like me, I'm sure you generally forget you resolved to attempt any changes by, oh, January 15th? (At least, I think that's the day all the new members stop going to the gym...)

This year, however, I'm going about it in a slightly different way. It's a quest that's as much about self-improvement as it is being responsible about completing the tasks I set out to do. I'm calling it "The 2012 Project," and I'm really the big project.

I used to make a big, long list of things I aspired to do in the new year. It was "clean the office, clean the basement, paint the basement, clean the medicine cabinet, reorganize the blah-blah-blah," all without rhyme or reason... and that doesn't work. I wind up overwhelmed by this laundry-list of minutia that doesn't really take into account how work gets done. If I wasn't doing it in December, why did I think I would do it in January?

So this year I'm going to share some of this with you, so we use the power of public scorn... I mean, "accountability," if I get off track. Yes, I bet a lot of people do do this, and no, I don't know how many of them succeed, but let's give it a spin.

First, instead of just a big list that you can't crack because it has no real organization, the hierarchy is in place with three umbrella ideas:
  • Business
  • Organize
  • Health
These then each drill down into some smaller goals. "Business" covers a few biggies, though, as far as "smaller goals" go: full-time work, ramping up my freelancing, and working on my writing.

Simple projects around the house and bettering my head fall under "Organize." This is everything from working on the office and filing to getting back into the habit of reading. It's a pleasure I cherish, and I've somehow lost the thread when it comes to doing it. Books are a pleasure, not just a stack of clutter in need of sorting.

(Embarrassing details about my life and home... after the break!)

Health" breaks down into "eat better" and "move more." Put more simply, as Eddy said on Absolutely Fabulous, "Just for once I want to take my clothes off and not be marked by them."

Each of those then drills down further into the actual to-do lists. I'm using a productivity calendar, organized lists, and the threat of public accountability to get them all accomplished.

Oh, and on a whim, I also signed up for, to brush up my tech skills a bit I guess it falls under "Organize").

What you see when you walk into the office...
So, what to share with you first? I've been thinking about documenting the rehabbing and reorganizing of the office. Chris had a great idea for a new way to "desk it,"and I've spent far too long thinking "I really should get this set up and work in here," instead of being on laptop at the kitchen table or in the living room, as I tend to do.  Also, I have these fantastic pictures and knick-knacks that give me great pleasure, yet they're all boxed away instead of being enjoyed.

If I seriously plan to freelance, and I do (more on that soon), it's time to get an office in order. That level of organization and responsibility will then free me up to go type at Starbucks like everybody else, right? (At the least it won't have me in a panic come tax time because I'll have the filing in one place...)

Gathering things up into boxes has actually made it look worse.
So here's some images of what it looks like now. I've gathered things up a bit into boxes, but containerizing clutter just makes it look... "cluttery." I can be incredibly organized at work, and really I know where everything is at the house, but there's so much junk I've let collect. It's hard to admit it and post photos, but it's the honest thing to do.

Also, I'd love to pretend I had just done all this as part of a big cleaning jag over the last few days. I didn't. It gets done a bit at a time. Getting it to this stage was finished over a month ago during a post-Thanksgiving bender of tidying...

So. first off: Those boxes need to come out and be sorted. 80% of what's in it are things which should be chucked anyhow. The book stack-shelves are coming out, but will go back in once things are organized. Those Comics boxes have to go somewhere and the blue couch is headed for the basement... unless someone needs an uncomfortable futon couch?

So, if you'll be kind enough to hold me to it, I'll keep you posted on my progress.

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