"Order is the shape upon which beauty depends." - Pearl S. Buck
I am one of those people who must have order of some sort in my life to feel remotely okay about my world. Clutter drives me crazy! Dirt on the floor, undone dishes, piles of laundry, scattered toys. I've learned to accept a certain level of disarray, as I live with a small child, a husband (who, let's face it, does not have the same incessant, slightly neurotic need to have things in their certain place ALL THE TIME), and 5 furry pets.
For me, it's also a matter of decompression.
I work hard ALL DAY. As soon as I get up, I hit the ground running. I'm a working mom (though, I guess I could say, what mom isn't?). So, I'm up by 6:15, running around doing the morning routine (which is a facet of this "order" I speak of) - coffee, feed the pets, greet and hug the boy, get a load of laundry started, shower, etc. Then, we're out the door by 7:20 or so. It's a busy, busy hour.
I've talked to other moms who wonder how I do it...how do I get up so late and still make it to work on time (mostly)? How on earth do we get lunches made (sometimes we don't), get the kid ready, get showered, and get the house in order so we don't come home to complete mayhem?
Everyone helps out to get the morning done as quickly and efficiently as possible. D. takes the dogs out, dresses our son, and gets breakfasts put together for us to take. I do the early morning set-up and the last minute clutter patrol. The little guy pretty much just runs around and makes the whole thing as complicated as possible, but he is pretty good about cleaning up his mess before we go.
Once we are out the door, it's kisses, hugs, and driving like mad to get to the daycare and off to work.
When I get to work, I meet another set of routines, and at the end of my day before I leave...another set.
Routine can lead to boredom, but it also leads to efficient completion of necessary tasks.
I continually update my routine. I try new things to see if it speeds things up any. I change things around to keep from stagnating.
One thing we continually battle fitting into our busy day is exercise. After work, it's a race to get home, get changed, and get running (or walking, as the case may be). One of us takes the small one in a jogging stroller, the other takes the dogs (during the dreary, rainy winter it's just a sharing of the treadmill). Then it's home to make dinner and do some household chores (I've come to accept that not everything is going to get done and that even the stuff that does get done will only be satisfactory at best). This is followed by homework/work/writing in the office. We finally plop into bed sometime around 9:30 or ten.
What on earth did we do back when we had T.V.? I don't know how we ever had time for it.
Anyhow...back to the point. Order. Organization. Routine. A few concepts that decrease stress and streamline productivity. When there are only so many hours in a day, this is imperative to maintain sanity and a healthy household.
When you come home to a messy house, piles of clutter, and loads of housework, it brings you down.
When you greet your desk in the morning only to find disorganized piles, post-its hanging off of every surface, open files, and stacks of papers, it makes you dread your day.
So said Dorothy Parker, "It's not the tragedies that kills us, it's the messes."
So, I've made it a point to leave my desk at work as clean as possible, with a list on top of things I must tackle A.S.A.P. when I arrive. That way, after I've dealt with the morning rituals, I can sit down, cup of coffee in hand, relax, and get right down to business, rather than searching all over, wandering aimlessly, and, inevitably getting the wrong things done while avoiding the things that should've been done a week ago. No matter what I have to put off, I don't put off this invaluable step. The room must be in order...then, if I have time to deal with something else, I will...otherwise, it will just have to wait until tomorrow - or until it catches on fire.
I've also made it a point to only deal with the most important stuff each night. I realize only so much can be accomplished in the time I have...so priorities must be established.
I tend to do this with lists (mostly because my memory is the size of a gnat's and because it just feels good to cross things off). Eventually, though, it becomes habit.
Order and routine can even be meditative practices. They need not be automation. They need not be hum-drum. They can calm the soul and reign in the chaos.
Besides. It's nice to know, that even though I'm insufferably behind, I will be walking into a clean office with an orderly desk tomorrow. And the desk in front of me now, is manageable.
Time for a sip of wine...and a little late night work.