One Bag Nation

When “Busy Work” is Productive & Satisfying

Posted on: August 8, 2008

Today I sat down to finally tackle the piles you see in the photo. My inbox was a cluttered mess and it was time to get serious!

Some of what I had to do was busy work: enter email addresses into my address book; move my to-do’s from sticky notes and index cards to my master notebook; register for a freebie from credo; transfer money from savings to checking, stamp and mail bills, etc. etc.

I was thinking that some of these tasks are the kind of thing I put off because I don’t mind doing them; sort of a “save the best for last” kind of thing. What actually happens is that they never get done, and then become a source of anxiety.

Today I decided to tackle the pile from the top down, and whatever came next I would do, regardless of whether it was something I could do “later”, or seemed trivial; after all, if it was in my inbox I thought it needed doing at some point or other.

Now that the pile is gone, I feel so productive – and I can enjoy my date with my husband tonight all the more.

Nothing like an empty inbox and a clear desk to inspire romance!


10 Responses to "When “Busy Work” is Productive & Satisfying"

I’ve felt that same good feeling of having gone through a pile of “stuff” (paperwork) and gotten all caught up! Enjoy your date. My hubby and I are watching the opening ceremonies — in CA we’re one of the last to view it I think. I’ve had to avoid all news sources today to keep from seeing a “sneak preview” before we watch tonight. Have a great weekend!

I’m so proud of you! Hope you’re having a wonderful time tonight.

Hi Ann,

That’s a great way to do it. Start at the top!

We must be on the same wave length. I, too, clean up my desk today. It feels so good to have it neat and tidy. Although I know it won’t last, at least now I have a clean slate.

Hope your date was fun and relaxing.

I know the feeling! I love having a clean desk, even if it’s just for a couple days. That fresh relief when it’s clean inspires me to constantly be on the lookout for any wayward clutter. 😛

Vered: thank you! It felt great, and now I’m motivated to keep that inbox empty.

Barbara & Alex: I’m always amazed at what a huge difference it makes to my state of mind to have my desk clear; as I said to Vered, I’d now like to work on maintenance.

Linda: We missed the Opening Ceremonies which sounded really wonderful, but we wanted to go out. I’ve watched a bit of coverage tonight; perfect “background” for blogging.

Aaahh…I did this too this weekend! Except that my stuff was all over the house, not just in an inbox! Felt so great to see all that empty space when i was done 🙂

Love your blog, been visiting here for the last couple posts.

Hi Kashmira: I’ve managed to contain most of my stuff to a couple of piles, but it took work! I’m so glad you like the blog and look forward to more comments.

That’s how I get at work. I put stuff aside because it’s nickel and dime, but then the nickel and dime becomes $100 bills because I’ve left them too long. Then I use the exact same approach as you did, systematically working my way through the list. Huh, I think I have to start using those truly productive days as an excuse for the Lion and I to go on a date. Hope you enjoyed yours! No details please *wink*

@Panther: exactly! the pile grows, the urgency grows, my anxiety grows! As for the date, we ended up seeing The Dark Knight and really did NOT enjoy it, so that was a bummer! But it was wonderful to have adult conversation over dinner.

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