Purging for Productivity

I have only been home for a few days, and I am already starting to feel the stress and pressure to ‘get to work’ on my dissertation. I did some work before heading off on holiday in June, but, as anyone knows, taking a 6 week hiatus from anything can break any sort of inspiration or flow that I had when I went away. So I am trying to get back into work mode – a mode that I must admit, I am not comfortable with. It is not that I don’t enjoy what I do – I absolutely love it! And when I AM in the zone, writing frantically, barely being able to sleep because the ideas and sentences are running furiously through my head – I am at the top of my game. However, it’s the getting back to that place. I know I have written before talking / asking about how I get to that zone; asking my friends and colleagues the same thing. But for some reason, each time I am embarking on a writing project, my ‘method’ seems to change. Perhaps it is the magnitude of what I am trying to do (looking at the big picture can sometimes hamper productivity – we all know that). This time, I am trying something different than I have done before.


Clothes. Furniture. Books. And anything else that gives me a feeling of energy-draining clutter. I spent the last two days working on a spring cleaning of sorts. Of course, i only managed to successfully complete one room (my youngest daughter’s room – heck, it’s not like I actually go in there to work!). I have dreams of my office/bedroom being in an immaculate state of organization and function. I fantasize about my kitchen being remodeled in a crisp modern decor that just begs for me to sit at the kitchen table with my laptop and a cup of coffee in the morning. Of course – I am a long ways away from  that dream kitchen, but thought I would start by purging the contents of my kitchen drawers and cupboards. I have so many unused utensils and dishes – I always feel bad that I have so much ‘stuff’ but only use about 1/5th of it! Mind you, much of it comes from my parents when I first moved out – all of their mismatched hand-me-downs that I feel guilty getting rid of, but equally guilty that I don’t use them.

I have been thinking about weeding out my ‘friends list’ a bit too over @FB … I am always amazed at how many people we are “friends” with, and how little time we (ok…. I / the other ‘friend’) put into maintaining that ‘friendship’. I know it is no biggie to keep people I barely know on my list, but it makes me feel guilty for not talking with them, and I feel stalker-ish for looking at their profile. So – that is my new golden rule – if I feel like a stalker when checking in on a ‘friend’ – it’s time to go. Nothing personal of course – there really isn’t anybody on my list that I don’t like, but in the spirit of ridding myself of some of the external (and artificial) sources of guilt-driven obligation.

While to some, it might seem like this whole process is yet another form of procrastination – and it very well could be. But I believe that with all of these things organized, minimalized – that will free up some head space that has been tied up in things not getting done (after three years, I still have unpacked boxes from my move here), messiness and clutter. Like a blank canvas, I am hoping that with a sufficient amount of purging, I will be able to move ahead and muddy up a couple hundred word doc pages. =)


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