Thursday, May 28, 2009

Turning off the OCD.

Anyone have any advice? I'm thinking about the June 1 start date of the brainwork, and I realize that I have a really, really hard time leaving the dishes, or the laundry, or the bathtub, or the clutter, or the yardwork, to fend for itself while I concentrate on work. I feel like I have to get everything ELSE organized before I can tune it out. Anyone have any advice about how to just reconcile oneself to disorder and work?

6 comments:

Moria said...

Ohhh, no. I can't work in a disordered space -- and I am, while clean and kind of tidyish, far from compulsive about order. If my apartment is a mess, writing is a big no-go.

Manage the compulsion, but don't feel you must defeat it. If it's not earning its keep, at least it might contributing gradually.

squadratomagico said...

Huh? The question makes no sense. Work while everything else is all a-clutter and messy? Let unwashed dishes and general mayhem prevail and just... write? People do that?

Sorry, no advice from these quarters.

Flavia said...

I have to get out of the house. I will drive a few miles and spend several dollars a day (in coffee and snacks) to hang out and work in a congenial cafe. If I put in 4-5 good hours, I'm allowed to go home and work a bit more there--and I often find that reading in bed works, as I feel less inclined to jump up and straighten things or to putter around when I'm there.

(Unfortunately, the cafe mentioned above has free wireless, so working there only works when I'm revising in longhand, or reading.
When I'm writing at home, I have to unplug the DSL and move my laptop into the living room--my wireless, fortunately, is broken--and write there, rather than at my desk. )

It's a serious, monumental chore, and seems to get harder with age.

Inept Poet said...

I feel your pain. But do you really think you'll get everything else organized? Aren't you really talking about some kind of compromise already: you'll organize x,y, and z, and then be able to get to work. So, just draw the line a little closer to working on your book. Maybe just organize x and y and then get to work.

Or, if the whole argument about clutter is merely a way of procrastinating, then what advice can be given?? Just get to work already--you're a tenured professor for heaven's sake!! What would you tell your students who don't want to get to work on that paper . . .

Leslie said...

Ha. I too must clean and organize. The best compromises I've come up with are:

1. Clean and organize the room I will be working in and bargain with myself: a certain number of hours of work and I get to do a chore.

2. Do as little cleaning and organizing and yard work as you possibly can, then leave to work in a library (even though I want to re-organize the shelves). Then you know the homefront is a little better than when you left it.

3. Don't work in the summer. That is hard for a prof, who is much busier all year long, but I have a really hard time working in the summer because it is the only season here to do yard and exterior house stuff and the daylight hours are so long I feel guilty for sitting with tea and books while I *should* be painting, mowing, building, etc. After all, I can write in the dark, but I can't paint the house in the dark.

Blue Cheese said...

When you figure it out, let me know.