Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Day Three: Garbage Out, Part One
It's trash pickup day at Chez Stevens, the perfect time to begin hefting large piles of no-longer-needed office material, including my stash of genealogical leftovers.
I started the clean-up project in earnest last night, after a long day of meetings and other obligations. It would have helped to consult my calendar first, before promising myself it was time to start The Cleanup, but I didn't. Determined to keep my word no matter what, I put my toe over the starting line and stepped off into the marathon. At nine o'clock.
I had a strategy, which helped counterbalance that late start. My plan, in attacking that four-drawer file cabinet needing a do-over, was to start with drawer number four. The reason? It had the least amount of paperwork to sort through. Don't be making snide comments about that approach, by the way; that drawer was still pretty full.
The reason I opted for that strategy is simple: when you start a task, you need something early on in the tedium to encourage yourself to keep going. If I can finish that one drawer fairly quickly, I'll feel better about keeping on with the project—something I desperately need to do, anyhow. A little extra pat on the back, mid-process, would be a welcome touch.
Going through that file drawer was a trip through memory lane. Have you ever found yourself picking up work habits from one place, early on, and carrying that habit through the rest of life? In earlier times, I held a government job—back when budget times were more lean than they seem to be now—when the custom in offices was to save manila envelopes to re-use for inter-office mail delivery. When I left work at that agency, that frugal habit followed me. I saved envelopes for re-use even when I didn't have any inter-office mail delivery to fuss with anymore. They all got chucked into a drawer for possible re-use later.
I'm sure you can guess which drawer those envelopes landed up in.
Why I also have that compulsive need to check inside each of those envelopes to insure that no paperwork was left behind, I'm not sure. That—plus checking the return address and remembering the person who sent the envelope—slowed down my progress. Before I knew it, though, that stack was vanquished and my resolve to keep working was stoked.
Today, I'll continue the process—there's about half a drawer to go before I complete this one, filled with an entirely different kind of old stuff—and hopefully meet up with the bare bottom of that metal file cabinet by the end of the day. Best part: most of the material already lifted from this repository simply goes into the trash, into the recycling bin, or gets redirected to another use—far away from this corner of my office.
Above: "Autumn - Banks of the Seine near Bougival," 1873 oil on canvas by Impressionist landscape artist Alfred Sisley; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.