Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Those Things that Elude You

We all chase after things. Some things we catch, while others stay just out of reach. They seem like they are right there. A quick swish of the hand though, and we come up empty-handed. Whatever that was just escaped us again.

My desk is piled high with books, papers, notes, receipts. I've been making documents furiously for days. All my preparation for teaching trudges on and the organization that I so desire--I can see it ahead, outdistancing me again. Yesterday, however, it completely evaded me, slipping around a corner, vanishing faster than home-baked cookies! I wasted gobs of time trying to find a notebook. It would have saved me lots of time to utilize those notes. I had to proceed without them. Frustrated and angry at my inability to keep track of things, I had to re-do several hours of planning contained in those precious pages. Of course, the delinquent notebook will show up as soon as I have finished planning.

People around me think I am highly organized because I get the job done. Come see my closets. Come see the piles on my desk. Come see me banging my head on the wall!

The problems I have with organization exist mostly because I expect (unrealistically) that I can store and handle objects (books, science experiment supplies, boxes of photocopied materials) in the same way that I handle computer documents: neatly filed and ready to come when I identify them. But the bulky, oddly shaped, and non-uniform sizes don't file on shelves and in closets the same way. Furthermore, there is a presumption that there even is shelf or closet space!

I am currently reading a biography of the early life of Theodore Roosevelt. He studied to be a naturalist, and in the process shot, stuffed and stored lots of specimens. He was a rich man--so he just made a museum in his own house. He had a whole staff of servants to help him. Now that is pricey first-class organization! Bully for Thee! Jolly good!

I am not rich, so I have to settle for stalking organization, hunting it down, tracking carefully, and hoping in my excitement I don't scare it off. It is a wily creature, cautious and nervous. Any false move and it will elude me again.


John Lynch said...

You should entertain the idea that your level organization has not evolved separately from your ability to "get the job done" and that, in fact, your current level of organization is optimal. Other people who may appear more highly organized may be wasting to many resources on organization when they have long ago passed the point where the benefits outweighed the costs. Just because your current level of organization is not what you would have designed does not mean that it is suboptimal.

Lisa said...

That was so encouraging, John. Thank you.