Getting unstuck

I’d like to say that I’ve had writer’s block lately, but I think it’s more honest to say I’ve been stuck, or just busy with other things. However, I think the universe is conspiring to unstick me, or at least point me in the right direction.

Earlier this week, I found a post on Gretchen Rubin’s blog that included this quote from author Eric Hoffer: “When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else.”

A side note – Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book about finding more happiness, and why it’s important to do so. I found it so interesting when I first read it on a plane, that I pulled out a notebook and started making notes.

When I read her post this week, I knew immediately that the one big thing I ought to be doing is getting my house organized, as I wrote in November after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.

Even though I didn’t make a formal New Year’s resolution this year, I decided that 2015 would be the year I tame my black holes, purge items I no longer need, and go through the last few unopened boxes from our move ten years ago.

And even though it’s only February, the decluttering and organizing have been calling my name more loudly than the writing projects have. Sigh.

I’ve been fairly consistent about decluttering, but there’s still a lot to do, and I’ve been reluctant to blog about it. My two main focuses in this blog have been writing and food. Decluttering would be a whole other blog. But, especially when you work from home, life tends to seep into your work, and vice versa.

I do have a freelance assignment that I’ll be working on this weekend, so that’s one thing that will move my writing off the back burner.

I also ran into a colleague the other day, and we talked about freelancing. I was curious about how he structured his day, and was inspired by his productivity.

This morning, I read Judith Timson’s column in the Toronto Star about “our stuff,” which made me feel better about my own stuff, and spurred me to write this post. The truth is, I haven’t put off writing this post  just because it’s outside the scope of my blog, but also because I’m a bit embarrassed by how long it’s taking me to deal with the “stuff.”

But one of the lessons I’ve learned since I lost my dad in 2008 is that things take as long as they take. Grief, for example. Decluttering, too.

I’ve found that getting rid of stuff isn’t actually hard. Deciding what to keep, and what not to, is the real difficulty, and sometimes the slowest part. Kondo’s book has helped me think differently about some items that I might have kept for sentimental reasons in the past, but the whole process is still a challenge.

When the one big thing you need to do could take a whole year, you have to figure out how to make time for other things that are also important.

Progress isn’t necessarily linear. You move forward, you slip back for a bit, and then you move forward again.






The urge to purge (clutter)

A post by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, caught my eye this morning. It’s called “A Secret to Happiness? Don’t Get Organized.”


I thought organizing was a good thing. Lately, I’ve been gearing up for some serious decluttering. There always seems to be more of it to do. Sigh. I’ve been feeling the urge to purge for weeks, but haven’t had time to tackle it except in a small way.

Spoiler alert – Rubin isn’t advising not to tackle the clutter at all.

Instead, she says to get rid of things, so you don’t have to organize them. We are on the same page after all.





Too much (digital) information

Sometime I wonder how other people manage all the information that comes across their screen every day. This morning, I read that there are 554 million people on Twitter. I follow 340 of them.

I started following most of them as a reporter at The Canadian Jewish News, and have added more than a few post-downsizing – mostly related to food and writing. I keep thinking I should edit my list, but there are always more pressing tasks. It’s impossible to keep up with all the Tweets, and I’m satisfied with checking Twitter once or twice a day and thinking of whatever I see as a window into what I want to know. But, wow, is Twitter a time-eater if you allow it to be!

I’m also a member of several groups on LinkedIn, and I follow a lot more blogs than I used to. My email inbox is filled with updates, not to mention regular email. I like to read, and I’m interested in most of what crosses my screen. I’ve had to discipline myself not to click on too many links.

Sometimes I find it overwhelming. And I didn’t mention Facebook, which I’m finding more manageable timewise than I did when I first joined.

This morning, in my e-mail, I found a post from Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, that resonated with me. It didn’t deal with information overload per se, but she wrote about the importance of having a foundation: habits like adequate sleep and exercise that make it easier to work on other habits. I think it’s a good strategy against being overwhelmed, not just digitally but in any aspect of life.

I’ve been deleting a lot of unnecessary emails lately, but I plan to keep this one. At least for now.