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If Only, As Soon As and When I (or, If You Start to Clean Your Office…)

Emma Walton Hamilton / Blog  / If Only, As Soon As and When I (or, If You Start to Clean Your Office…)
If Only, As Soon As and When I (or, If You Start to Clean Your Office…)

If Only, As Soon As and When I (or, If You Start to Clean Your Office…)

It all started with a New Years resolution… er, goal.

I wanted to create some short instructional videos for my new membership site, the Children’s Book Hub.  The problem was that the background – the area directly behind my desk – needed some attention. I have a nice window, and some art from our children’s books on the wall, and a nice bookshelf – but there was also a printer, and a stack of receipts, and a box of bills and an electronic pencil sharpener and a host of other items cluttering up the scenery and pulling focus.

If only I could move the printer….

So I relocated it to the bookshelf – the one to the other side of my desk, out of sight of the camera. That involved rewiring, of course, and it meant that the “To Be Filed” box had to find a new home, which prompted me to reorganize the entire bookshelf… which meant I ended up with a dozen or so other baskets, books and large items I needed to find homes for.

The dust unleashed by all this activity made me thirsty and sneezy, and I realized that all the shelves needed dusting, along with the rest of the office.  And one thing led to another, and I ended up reorganizing my ENTIRE office – cabinets, drawers and shelf surfaces I hadn’t cleared out in YEARS.

One trip to the dump (thank you, my most excellent and patient husband) and several trips to the attic later, I had cleared and reorganized everything in my office… except my desk.

But by this time it was 4:00 – time to take the dog for his outing to the playgroup/dog park he adores, extra necessary today because of two days of snow having rendered our morning walk all but impossible. “If only I could clean my desk first,” I think to myself. “Then, when I next walk into my office I’ll have that satisfying “ahhhh!” feeling… and I’ll be inspired to get right to work on that new story.”

But the sun goes down fast at this time of day (and year) and the dog won’t wait. And by the time I get home it’ 5:00, and I think to myself, “I’ll finish clearing the desk… as soon as I feed the dog, have some dinner, bathe the kids and call my Mom…”, which is followed by “I should really have finished that editing job today – I’ll do it when I’ve cleaned the desk.”

You get the point.

If you give a pig a pancake, he’ll want some syrup to go with it. (Thank you, Laura Numeroff.)  There will always be some other task, something else in the “In” box, some excuse (er, reason) to put off what you really want to do.

Or, you can start that new story in spite of the desk.  The desk will be there tomorrow.

Emma Walton Hamilton
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