Sunday, February 24, 2013

When Creative Chaos becomes Clutter

It’s that time of year…the need to remove clutter.  Actually, the need to declutter probably hits me a few times a year but more so this season than any other.

For one, in my attempt to prepare for tax season, I am cleaning out files, tracking down all the paperwork I need to complete my taxes and putting away last year’s paperwork to make room for the accumulation of this year’s documents. 
That chore just snowballs into a huge need to remove clutter in other areas as well.

I tend to focus next on my desk…which has actually been buried for quite awhile lately.  When I assess the piles of paperwork on my desk, I realize they are broken up into groups of tasks:  writing/editing in progress, books I’m using for research, articles or posts I’ve printed out to review, blogging materials and ideas, marketing materials I’m working on and other book-related, personal, financial or volunteer tasks I’m trying to keep up with.
I’m sure it sounds like my desk might not be large enough for the multitude of piles I must be looking at on any given day.  The piles aren’t always present but these tasks are ongoing so before I know it, they tend to multiply, especially if I’m spending more time on one particular task or not enough time consistently on each to reduce the clutter.  After awhile, the clutter gets to me and my need to get organized kicks in.  Creative chaos is something I can handle but when it becomes cluttered and crushing to my creative spirit, change must happen.

How to reduce the piles was the question of the day, especially if my time is limited on completing whatever tasks I hope to cross off my list for any given category. 
My day planner is a huge part of my daily life and with it I am usually able to stay organized with my to-do lists.  I am a list maker, task manager and constant note taker so this book is critical for me.  However, my daily planner just cannot adequately control or contain everything when it comes to my writing and the business side related to marketing and sales.  I finally organized a binder for my book-related tasks and it has helped me tremendously.  I believe it should also help reduce the amount of piles that tend to form on my desk.  The binder is someplace where I can easily keep track of expenses related to writing, income received from book sales, inventory, invoices and other information relating to stores who are selling my book, marketing plans and ideas, blog ideas and future events.  I also have a monthly calendar where I can easily keep track of writing activities and events. 

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner!  
When it comes to very large projects, this is usually my way of organizing and it has been very helpful.  In fact, I used a binder like this when we built our house and it was one of the reasons I was even able to pretend to stay focused when there were so many areas we had to keep track of during the building process.  Maybe I hadn’t thought about using a binder before because writing is more than a project for me…it is a new way of living coupled with my everyday life.  To take writing seriously is a huge undertaking, involving many different aspects from creativity to sales and I guess I was too sidetracked by all the piles to realize that one classic day planner just can’t be required to keep track of it all. 

I’m glad I finally came to my senses.  Now I can get back to my creative chaos where I can remain organized and free from clutter.

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