I’m pretty good at dealing with stuff that’s right in front of my nose. I was doing dishes at the sink and noticed again that the paint on the window sill is peeling. Given that the sight is pretty much in direct alignment with my nose, I know I will get out the sander and repaint the sill. Maybe not today, but soon, because every time I do the dishes, that peeling pain in front of my nose bothers me.
There are projects that I want to do and need to do, but because they are not right in front of my nose, it’s harder to get them done. It’s as if I have shut these goals in a drawer, and that is a dead zone—the old out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome. Things in a drawer are essential gone.
I haven’t done a blog lately because I was fortunate enough to get away from what turned out to be a terrible winter. I spent three and a half months in Florida and Mexico. It was a lovely adventure in new places, but when I came home, my nose was pressed right up to the grindstone: unpacking my car, putting stuff away, dealing with the mouse droppings and washing everything in my kitchen, the box of mail, rehearsals for a play reading, laundry, and finally taxes. All I did was play the CatchUp Game. Not a lot of fun, but it got done. It was like stumbling over shoes on the floor, picking them up, and putting them away.
A friend declared that he didn’t want to complete his taxes because what was ahead after that was going to be even more challenging. I laughed because it was true.
The day after I finished my taxes, I slipped into feelings of overwhelm. I lay back in my lounge chair and sank into exhaustion (my response to overwhelm). The problem for me now is that the challenges I am facing are NOT right in front of my nose. They can get put off oh so easily. I didn’t know what to do first.
The Big Whatever must have realized that I needed a little help because I got an email from a friend extolling the virtues of Jerry Seinfeld’s organization system. I looked into it. Though I decided it wasn’t right for me, I was grateful because it reminded me that the only way I can get a challenge out of the Dead Zone Mind Drawer and put it in front of my nose is to write it down in a way that I cannot avoid seeing it.
So, I spent the morning redoing my goals and vision and creating my own system that helps to put it right in plain sight. I took my goals and broke them down into as small, doable bits as I could. I now have essentially three columns: Immediate/As Soon As Possible/Future. Ticking things off, transferring them to a satisfying “Done” list has lifted me from a state of exhaustion to the thought that I can actually accomplish these new and challenging goals.
Organization is a way of communicating with oneself. I don’t think it matters what system one uses—Jerry Seinfeld’s calendars, David Allen’s files or an organization you invent for yourself. The important thing is to write down what you want to do and look at it every day. When you see these steps toward your goals right in front of your nose, it will be easier to do them than keep looking at them.
Good luck dealing with the challenges you are facing après taxes!
This blog addresses the principle of Communication.