Thursday, 16 July 2015

Thinking or Over-thinking - That Is The Question

Okay, so I'm having one of those situations where I might possibly be  accused of overthinking something.

"Noooooo" I hear you cry, "it's not possible!"

Well I'll have you know, it's something I've been charged with in the past and it has been known to happen from time to time but just like a smoker in the face of an ashtray full of cigarette butts, I am aware of this naughty little habit of mine and have done a lot to kick it in recent years.  However, I am prone to the odd lapse but this morning I'm not sure if the subject of my thoughts is a case of overthinking or if it's something I really need to think about.....

The subject is my desk - the centrepiece of my writing cave, the hallowed piece of furniture upon which I create my literary masterpieces (well blog posts anyway).  And the item I can't actually see due to the incredible amount of crap on it.  Correction, the piles of crap on it!

Photo of messy desk
The Desk

So, I'm sitting here looking at it (actually I've been doing this for a few weeks now - don't worry I've taken toilet breaks...) and I'm wondering if the state of my desk reflects the state of my mind.  I'm wondering when (if?) I tidy it, will it make a massive difference to my productivity?  Will my mind suddenly clear and will magically worded, fascinating blog posts fall like glorious rainbows onto the page - all bright, shiny, colourful and perfect?  Or will it make damn all difference?

I know people who take great pride in their desks and who believe a pristine desk is the sign of a clear mind and being super-organised and efficient.  Then there is the other school of thought, the absent-minded professor type, whose desk seems to be in a constant state of disarray but the professor knows where everything is down to every word on every single page.

My desk takes things to a whole other level.  I have the mammy stuff, the writing stuff, the financial stuff, the insurance stuff, the health stuff, the school stuff and a whole load of other miscellaneous stuff sitting in various piles. Then, of course, there are the kids' contributions - Captain America is peeping out at me from under the spare screen (yes, a spare screen!) and a self-portrait of La-la dancing in the rain is sitting atop a tupperware container which also has a pile of Monster High stickers on it (note to self: check out what's in the tupperware container).

Pencil drawing of little girl dancing in the rain
Dancing In The Rain

Now, I can hear you all say, "would you just ever clean that shit up."  Actually, I can hear some of you screaming it.  However, this is my dilemma: I have a whole heap of other shit I need to do and there are only so many hours in the day.  I have this idea in my head that at some point in the not so distant future I'm going to have a day where I magically have time on my hands, all the time I need to take on this particular job.  You see, it's not just a case of throwing all this crap in the bin. Experience has taught me that the one bank statement you throw away, the electricity bill you don't have, the insurance document you can't find - THESE ARE THE VERY THINGS THAT WILL COME BACK AND BITE YOU IN YOUR UNTIDY, DISORGANISED ARSE!

So, I am a fanatical filer.  Yes, I file every blasted thing - even the kiddies contributory artwork.  You may point your eyebrows skyward at the last statement and whisper, "saddo" but the one piece of artwork I throw in the bin is the exact same piece of artwork the Dude will be looking for just as soon as the binman has driven off - it's happened people.  Now the only thing with filing is that you have to actually have files.  You may remember a few months ago we moved?  Well, since then my files have been somewhat in disarray.  So, in order for me to clear the desk, I first have to sort out my files.  Are you starting to see where this is going?  Yup, the mere clearing of the desk is turning into a three day job!  And I don't see a point in the near future where I am going to have three whole days to devote to it.

And this is where the thinking starts (or overthinking as some might accuse....)  Every lifestyle magazine and blog exhorts the value of de-cluttering, whether it be your home or your entire life. The benefits, it would seem, are wide-ranging and many.  I have yet to see an article on the benefits of clutter.  Of course the sub-text of all these articles is that clutter is deadly and will eventually kill you. One of the best selling books on amazon is called The Life-changing Magic of Tidying in which the author expounds upon the Japanese Konmari method of de-cluttering or in other words "sorting your shit out."

The Konmari method, we are told,  " will not just transform your space. Once you have your house in order you will find that your whole life will change."  Your whole life!
It goes on to claim, "you can feel more confident, you can become more successful, and you can have the energy and motivation to create the life you want."

Book cover for Konmari - The Japanese Art of decluttering
The "Magic" Book!

Now if all that isn't a tempting proposition then I don't know what is.  And I think to myself, "well I could make a start with my desk....."  And then I read, "the key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly."  Uh-oh.  Quickly?  I'm estimating three days just to sort my files and clear my desk.  And what about all the kids' crap, the stuff they can't bear to part with? I'm hitting road-blocks and I haven't even started!

And then I think (there's that word again....) back over my life and about the different abodes I've lived in and if their relative states of tidiness or lack of had any relevance to my life at the time and I can't spot any connections.  I can't definitively say when I was living in a one bedroom cottage in the West of Ireland with stuff falling out of wardrobes and piled to the rafters that my life was any worse than when I lived in a pristine apartment in Hong Kong.  I remember going on de-cluttering binges in the cottage (God bless my thirty year old, child free self) and waiting for the life-changing transformation to happen.  It didn't.  

So now I'm thinking (yup more of it....) perhaps I just didn't do it right, maybe I did it in the wrong order or maybe I wasn't quick enough.  So I'm thinking of buying the book and then I get to thinking how long is it going to take me to read it and then how long is it going to take me to put what I've read into action?  And what about all the other shit I have to do on a daily basis - who is going to do that stuff whilst I'm all ninja housewife?  Is there a book out there I can read to help me catch up with that after I've turned my living quarters into a shrine to Japanese minimalism?

And then I get to thinking (I just can't stop!) would it all be worth it anyway?  The house is tidied and cleaned from top to bottom every Friday (the only area not touched is my desk) and by Saturday afternoon it's usually a wreck again.   

Photo of Rodin's sculpture of the thinking man
I Think This Guy Knows How I Feel
Some of the other stuff I do on a daily basis, I'm hoping really does have the power to transform my life but will that happen sooner if I just tidy up?  There's a whole bunch of people out there who thoroughly believe so.  Do I?

I don't know.  I suppose I'll just have to think about it.