Friday, December 29, 2006

The Impulse to Organize

So I have been trying to get myself organized today. About this time every year, when I have a few weeks to myself between semesters, I promise myself that I will get organized. I start putting all pertinent dates on my PDA. I update address books. I consider what conferences I can apply for and their deadlines. I catch up on neglected correspondences. And, I finish the letters of recommendation that I should've got to before Christmas.

One of the hardest parts of getting organized, is that I can't figure out which of these things to do first.

Anyway, this impulse to organize always fascinates me. It is a wish to be "in control" and untroubled by whatever comes my way during the semester. I make promises to eat better, exercise more, do more yoga and work on meditating. I promise myself not to take on too many responsibilities and I review my career: where is it going?

No matter how good my intentions, I never quite get organized and I end up winging it all through the semesters. I rely on my intuition to find myself to meetings sometimes--and believe me, it fails. I never take full advantage of the blocked off research days.

I know there are some people out there who can abide by a schedule. There are others who never let anyone steal away their precious research time. But, I am not one of those people. The fact is that something in my personality works against organization, even if I aspire to be one of those organized people.

I think that my secret weapon is that anxiety actually forces me to produce and to do so fairly well. But, the downside is that anxiety totally wears away at my mental health. Organization is a way to manage stress and yet, if I manage stress, I don't get half of the things done that I should.

Any suggestions?