Desk Lasagna

(From a recent column at LiveAsIf.org)



Desk Lasagna
    I kept putting off writing this last week because I thought I had just too much on my plate to take time for it. I thought other things were more important. Well, school work is more important right now, but I’ve had this column as a responsibility long before I went back to school to earn my Master’s.
It’s the desk lasagna that gets in my way. I suddenly found that I was closed in and had a 5” x 10” space to write in, and that all my layers had closed in over things I needed. This reminded me of how much worldly things close in around me, and I let God’s word sit on the side. David didn’t let that happen very often. He penned the words, “What is man that Thou are mindful of Him?” Solomon wrote, “Don't procrastinate-- there's no time to lose.” I have been searching scripture for God’s promises and I just did not have time this week for my usual study, so I offer this bit of advice this week. Don’t do as I do.
    I am quite sure there are things on your desk that you’ve pushed to the side because other things seem more important. Maybe that spreadsheet that you’ve got on your computer all set up for this year’s budget needs filling in, or that cute cartoon about Maxine, you simply must read to the very end.
    Take a look at my Desk Lasagna. Calendar is out of date. Folder with bills to pay is on the far right.  Stacks of phone messages are somewhere on the right and the clock is ticking telling me “time’s a-wasting”. Inbox with stacks of things that I have not looked at in several days, to the far, far right. And top left my computer box because I don’t want to put it on the floor (it’s new, you see, or was new in 2010). Center front my new book I just finished final approval, and next to it is the book I’m to post a review for today … quadruple sigh. Somewhere over there is a box of Kleenex but I haven’t seen it for a couple of weeks. Then there’s the phone that keeps getting lost under papers. If I don’t remember to put my keys in my purse, they get lost under yesterday’s mail which has been opened, but not filed, yet.
    Sound familiar?
    I searched the world over and found some very interesting helpful hints. There is Nancy Schimelpfening—I dare you to say that out loud three times fast!
    Nancy has done a lot of research and says that we procrastinate because we’re depressed. Well, I have to beg to differ. Who has time to be depressed? I’m just drowning in paper lasagna. However, she did divide up the types of procrastination that may make sense to you; such as too many tasks that one is overwhelmed. Yes, Absolutely, I identify. Another type is difficulty in keeping on track (getting sidetracked with Maxine cartoons), or sidetracked with internet searches, tweaking my blog so I can sell my book from it.
    See how easy it is to get sidetracked?
    I’m going to call her Nancy, because I cannot pronounce her last name, says hostile feelings toward someone will make you put off getting things done to punish them [insert shocked look here]. Maybe if I were a psychologist or counselor I’d understand this one. I cannot imagine anyone deliberately shooting themselves in the foot, or setting themselves up to get fired because of hostile feelings… but, it takes all kinds, I guess. Fearing disapproval, Nancy says is another reason. Then there is the rebellious feelings brought on by routine and hectic schedule. I can certainly identify with that one, and that could be a whole different discussion.
    My particular problem is not adhering to the “Touch Paper Only One Time” rule. Open the letter, read it and then file it where it belongs. Finish reading a newsletter… industry magazine… update or whatever, then file it for future reference or file in the trash, just get it off the desk top.
    Okay, that takes care of the first layer.
    Grab that phone message and write down the name and number, or type it into your contacts list, or how ever you keep track of your contacts, then throw the message away. Your secretary has the carbon copy of it in her little book. Or, you may not have stacks of phone messages, but you’ve got stacks of things that you want to keep for future reference, to read, or to study. Make a file marked “Reading”. When you go on a trip or don’t have a book to read, take that folder with you and you’ve got something productive to do. How hard is that to do?  Evidently, very hard because I have, wait let me count them, forget it, I lost count of the things I need to read to keep up. Let’s just say, I have every message that has been given to me except the exact one I need which includes every business card that has been put into my hand. Now, that is daunting. How will I ever find that phone number if I have to dig through 100 messages?
    Don’t do as I do.
    When you get a Round Tuit click on About.com and see if you agree or disagree with the woman whose name I cannot pronounce. 
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