Sunday, January 13, 2008

Evolution in Space and Time

I just made my last Sunday check-in for Sven round two. After a full week of working at my new workstation I was able to add between 6 and 9K to the 51K I garnered for NaNo. I hope to add another 3-5K by Tuesday midnight. It is tempting to think if only the room do-over had been done before October 15 just think what I could have accomplished with a steady pace like that. But then I remember that, in fact this isn't the first room do-over in the past year. The before pictures I posted on my TT were not the true before pictures. They were actually the 'after' pictures for the June do-over that weren't taken until the room had once again devolved into chaos because we had not maintained it. Which was primarily because we had never really finished what we had started.

Below is a picture from the day before the June makeover of the room. The day before we moved in the bookshelves that were supposed to solve all the issues of this jerry-rigged system of cardboard boxes and whatnot. This was my workstation from the spring of 2005 forward except that the laptop was added in November of that year. Before that my primary writing station was at my in-law's PC in the living room to which I had access only between 9PM and 6AM most days. WIFI and Broadband was not added until September 2006 so until then my Internet access was still limited to the graveyard hours.

I am fairly sure that if I had discovered the 70 Days challenge while my workstation was still this chaotic I would not have even momentarily considered joining in.

Below is one of the pictures I posted in my TT. This was taken the Friday before Christmas. But this was essentially my writing workstation throughout both of the 70 Day rounds and NaNo. Except that those boxes were not there before my return from Longview in December so I was usually able to have my legs under that board and access the shelves underneath.

It actually wasn't so bad before those boxes took away my leg space. If the rest of the room could have been put in as good a shape and maintained as well things might have gone more smoothly through Sven II and NaNo.

Below is a picture of my workstation taken during last week's do-over. I believe it was taken late Saturday evening. It has changed several times since then and will probably continue to change in minor ways as I continue to use it and discover what works and what doesn't. Besides that I haven't finished unpacking all the smaller items that I carted out of the room in boxes of various sizes and there are several sorting projects still to do that will add and subtract items in this area. That white drawer-in-a-box is one of the biggest of those sorting projects as it long ago devolved into a junk drawer. It also needs to be one of the first because it needs to become the home of many of the items from the other sorting projects.

Featured here is the wheeled utility cart we bought Saturday to be my movable desk. It can roll to the foot of the bed which is where Ed prefers to use it as there is no room for his legs between it and the bed here. And I can roll it out to the living room for late night work sessions that would disturb Ed's sleep. We can also roll it on out to the front porch when the weather warms up in March.

To the right of the utility cart is one of the tower of drawers we bought that day as well. You can't see the bottom one but there are three drawers. This was bought to hold my sewing projects and supplies. It represents another big sorting project even though it was just bought for I just stuffed things into it willy-nilly that day. I had no time for fiddling or fine-tuning and I had no place to put the big gift bag that held all this stuff before.

As you can see, I have unfettered access to the closet for hanging up the hanging clothes now.

I have a funny story to tell on myself. That Friday night the day before this picture was taken, I was back in the back of the closet rearranging the items back there. At that time I was still planning on making sure that the closet door could be shut so I was frequently testing that it would still roll. Usually I was on the outside when I tested it but I was impatient so I pushed it shut while I was still inside and that time, though it shut just fine, it jammed when I tried to open it. I was trapped inside. Ed had to come get me out. I was so glad he was home! I gave up on the idea of being able to close the closet door.

Below is another shot of the corner from last June. I am adding it because it shows the big bag holding my sewing sitting up on top of that stack of boxes in the corner. That was a precarious position for it. I always had difficulties lifting it down when I needed something out of it. I almost always had to ask Ed to get it down and put it back. One night while I was typing and Ed was sleeping, it fell off and brought down with it a boot box full of books that had been up there with it. The bag landed on Ed's head and the box of books bounced off my arm before glancing off the keyboard where it dislodged the cap off the 'n' key. Luckily the bulk of the stuff in the bag was yarn and the only damage to my arm was a bruise just above my watch. The boot box was not returned to its lofty place.

The whole point of this post is to emphasize the relationship between order and productivity. I've been using the time I am working at it to contemplate the relationships of space, time, stuff and self. Rolled into the concept of self is the dreams and goals where use of space, time and stuff is delegated to various endeavors, the success of which depends on a proper relationship between self, space, time and stuff.

You are probably saying 'Huh?'

I'm not sure I can be more specific just yet. Some of the concepts and insights I am contemplating are as vague as that sounds. But I have been trying to use mindfulness as I tackle this project. It is far from done though I can be productive at my writing station. It was because I stopped working at it when the June do-over reached a similar stage that things devolved into chaos again. I am determined not to let that happen this time. So I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating the uses of the space, time and stuff as I continue to change and rearrange.

I have spoken here before of my issues with hoarding. I am working hard on that issue as well. That is the theme of much of my contemplation of space, time, stuff and self. The emotional attachments I make to things is an issue I've had since infancy. I managed to let go of a lot of things during the major stage of the do-over. Many things that I removed from the room on January 2 and 3 were never returned to it. Between us Ed and I winnowed out several bushels of things.

From the moment I started moving things back into the room, I tried to be mindful of what it was, what it was for and when and where it would primarily be used. I was also making myself think twice and thrice and more as to why I wanted to bring this or that back in. I had hoped to be able to do that with every last item but my plans were abruptly altered by the early return of my in-laws from their vacation. They returned on Sunday afternoon instead of Tuesday because of the snow predicted for the passes that night. So a lot of our stuff still remaining in other rooms of the house was returned to our room in a manic ninety minutes and placed wherever temporary space could be found for it.

It is going to be harder to let go of things that were brought back in here. It is going to be harder to organize the things we do use regularly while working around all the stuff that was placed temporarily into the spaces that are the most likely homes for them. For example: I can see that the best place for the CDs is a certain shelf that is near the new home of the boom box but that shelf is occupied by a box that needs sorting and if I move that box something else will have to be moved. If I sort that box, I run into the same conundrum with nearly every item in it.

1 tell me a story:

Julia Phillips Smith 1/16/2008 4:57 PM  

Glad to see some of the spaces you're making for yourself. I'll bet the moving-forward momentum from 70 Days of Sweat is helping with the letting go of stuff. My husband and I have hoarding problems, as well, and I'm very up for scaling down in the stuff category this year. Must be a 2008 thing.

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