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Old 01-13-2019, 07:13 PM #1
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Default Cleaning My Desk...

Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but seems like it might be.

You see, my desk is driving me crazy. Ever since I retired in 2005 I've had the goal of getting my desk cleaned off and my papers organized. Simple, no? No.

I stand in front of my desk, frozen like a deer in headlights. I stare at the disorganized, unevenly listing piles of papers. I panic. In my head i'm saying "I can't! I can't!!" I am completely immobilized as if someone has turned me into stone. I stare for awhile longer, then turn away in despair and resolve to tackle my desk tomorrow. And nothing ever gets done.

I'm quite serious about how much this bothers me, because basically I love clean, minimal surfaces and perfect order. But for some reason I simply can't get out of my own way on this.

Any suggestions - and I do mean ANY (short of lighting a match) - will be most gratefully accepted.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:37 AM #2
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

I know that immobilized feeling well! I have been tackling a lot of long delayed tasks like this lately. For me, the trick is just to get started by doing something small. I typically wind up getting 10x more done than I expected. And if I don't and I only do that one small thing or spend five minutes on it, I've at least made *some* progress and turned off the guilt and negative self-talk.

Here's a couple of ideas that have helped me:

1. Set a timer for five minutes (or two minutes). During that time, clean your desk. It can be really overwhelming to tackle stuff like this because who wants to spend the next three hours dealing with a mess? If you just spend a couple of minutes, it's not so bad.

2. Make a list of 4-5 tiny steps you can take, things that will take less than a minute. One thing you can pick up and put somewhere else.

There's actually a part of the Feeling Good Handbook that uses procrastination about cleaning a desk as an example (page 187 in my copy)! The author suggests using a cost-benefit analysis. First you make a pro/con sheet of the advantages and disadvantages of delaying the task.

The advantages/disadvantages of not cleaning my desk now:
Pros: I can read a book instead. I hate cleaning.
Cons: I feel bad whenever I look at my desk. I can't find what I need. I need to get it done some day and will keep worrying about it until I do.

Then you make a list of the pros/cons of getting started today:

Pros: It will be done. I will have a clean, usable space. I won't have to worry about it anymore. It will make me happy to look at the cleared space. I have been bothered by this since 2005.
Cons: I would have to spend time doing a task I loathe. I would have to make decisions and that's tiring.

So when I look at this list, I have so many more reasons to get the cleaning done with now. Yes, there are some cons, but they will not change because I delay. They are there whether I do the task now or later.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:14 PM #3
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Thanks so much for your response, hvert. The thing is, I think I am convinced, very deep down in my being somewhere, that I CAN'T DO IT. I am SIMPLY NOT ABLE. After all, I've failed again and again.

But I will try your method.

(((HUGS)))
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:44 AM #4
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

It's harder to overcome that kind of 'can't', for sure. I have that mindset about driving stick shift.

Maybe you can't clean your desk, but you can take one thing off it today.
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Old 01-15-2019, 01:10 PM #5
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvert View Post
It's harder to overcome that kind of 'can't', for sure. I have that mindset about driving stick shift.

Maybe you can't clean your desk, but you can take one thing off it today.
Hvert, you are my new BEST FRIEND.

(Actually yesterday I did set a timer for 10 minutes and slogged away at my desk and actually did manage to move some papers off the top of one of the piles to various other (hopefully better) locations.
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:19 PM #6
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Any luck with this?

Sounds like overwhelm ... which I know all too well for my own issues. I need to break things down and really try to block out the big picture stuff for some things.

Maybe you could try grabbing an item -- any item -- and take it to the kitchen table (or wherever) and deal with it there. So that you're not so visually and emotionally distracted.

If it doesn't take long, you could grab a very little slice of a pile and do the same.
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:22 PM #7
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Jeez, thank you so much for responding, CV. That was a surprise. And you are absolutely right, the solution lies in narrowing your focus. Sometimes Ive been able to do it, sometimes not; it just seems as if I have to keep hearing that advice over and over. When I look at my desk all I see is a monstrous amorphous mass resembling the city dump.

Anyway thanks for caring enuff to take the time to respond, because this situation really does bother me.

Have a pleasant evening 🌹
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:17 PM #8
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mopey View Post
Jeez, thank you so much for responding, CV. That was a surprise.
Well, I just noticed this thread. So maybe you don't want to rely excessively on my organizational skills.
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:27 PM #9
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

ANYONE'S organizational skills have got to be better than mine, C.V. LOL
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:07 AM #10
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Default Re: Cleaning My Desk...

Oh wow, I like the idea of moving a small pile to a different area!
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