Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clearing Up the Clutter - Harris

Here's a confession: As a freelancer, I've been keeping dozens of files for articles I 'might' write someday. When I cleaned out my filing cabinet two weeks ago, I discovered many of those files were outdated. Many more were about subjects I hadn't been interested in for years. That experience drove a lesson home:

A stuffed filing cabinet doesn't make you a better researcher. A messy desk doesn't make you more creative. And staying at your desk when you really need to get some exercise, doesn't make you more dedicated or professional.

More than that: Shedding old habits, old attitudes, and old stuff frees us to tackle to new opportunities. It allows us to open ourselves up to possibilities God has for us -- to look toward the future with excitement. I believe shedding things that weigh us down will improve the quality of our work.

That overstuffed filing cabinet was a reflection of many areas of my life.

Since August, I've lost 20 lbs, thrown out 22 bags of junk from my filing cabinet and closets, and sent three bags of good, but 'not useful to me' stuff to Catholic Charities.

I've also developed a plan for my career: one that acknowledges that I can't do everything, that I have to make choices, and that I have to ask God what opportunities He wants me to pursue.

Not surprisingly, I'm feeling postive and energized about life right now. But more than that, I feel much more focused about what writing assignments to tackle.

I'm focusing on a few things rather than trying to do everything.

Rather than 'sort of' working all the time, I work hard for a set number of hours. I also have priorities that are not related to work at all. For example, I'm trying to 'really listen' to my husband and kids when they speak. I'm slotting in time to exercise or take a walk in the afternoon. Other priorities for me: Time to pray. Time to paint at least two watercolours per month.

I have a hunch that balancing work with the rest of my life will make me a better writer.

Now, I look forward to going to my desk each morning becaus I'm excited about the projects I'm working on.

I'm think I'm working smarter. I'm think, maybe, I'm on my way.

1 comment:

Carolyn Arends said...

Thanks for these cogent thoughts, Jane. I can so relate to "sort of" working all the time. Like you I've been trying to be more intentional with my time by having designated hours for focused work. (Which also means designating the rest of my time for attending to family and friends and the many other important things a day can bring.) Thanks for the inspiring reminder.

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