Posted in Personal life

How To Get Things Done

On Sunday afternoon, after months of feeble excuses, I decide to tackle what appears to be an enormous task. I undertake to tidy my dressing table. It is inches deep in the detritus of dressing and undressing: discarded jewellery, price labels and hanging tags from new clothes, odd coins and pens and business cards that have been turned out of jacket or trouser pockets. The Victorian honey-coloured pine surface is completely hidden from view.

Tidying my dressing table is not my favourite task, which is why I have ignored it for so long. In the half light of early mornings and the dimmed lamps of late nights, I never really scrutinise it, so the muddle bothers me far less than if it were on the kitchen table. The only reason I am bothering to tackle it now is that otherwise I will have no moral high ground from which to make my daughter clear up her dressing table, now competing with mine in the untidiness stakes.

I grit my teeth, put on my Ipod (that invaluable mental anaesthetic) and wonder how many podcasts it will take before I’ve completed my task. I click on my favourite, The News Quiz , and swiftly fall into the meditative, methodical rhythm of tidying.

I locate lost necklaces, reunite long parted pairs of earrings, and accumulate quite a stash of beribboned clothing tags for my cardboard recycling box. (Can I really have bought so many new clothes lately? Erm, no – it’s just an awfully long time since I last culled the discarded labels.)

I restore to centre stage a favourite antique lace mat and a colourful binca mat that my daughter cross-stitched for me last Mother’s Day under her Grandma’s artistic direction by Grandma. I rearrange the chipped but beautiful mulberry Bavarian glass dishes that once belonged to my own Grandma. With a neatness bordering on OCD, I align the numerous necklaces draped over the corners of the hinged mirror. My dressing table is starting to resemble an exotic shrine – and all before The News Quiz is half way through. Stepping back to admire the new order, I feel a sense of calm creeping osmotically from this harmonious little scene into the depths of my soul.

This tidying business really is therapeutic. I continue to feel a little glow of satisfaction every time I walk past the dressing table, even now, two days on. So why did I wait so long to do it? I really must not procrastinate like this again. Now that I can see the mirror again, perhaps I ought to write across it a note in lipstick to remind myself: The best way to get something done is to do it.

Posted in Writing

Red is the Colour

red colour scale
Image via Wikipedia

What is it about the winter that makes one want to turn out cupboards and tidy shelves?  In a frenzy of rationalization, I’ve spent the day reorganising my study, adding more and more items coloured the bright red of a certain fast-food outlet.

I know that red is an energising colour.  Surrounding yourself with it is meant to speed up all your activities, including the demolition of fast food in their case. I’m hoping it will have the same effect on my writing assignments.  (Or at least give me the energy to change out of my pyjamas on the right side of lunchtime.)

On my most recent trip to said fast-food outlet, made at the insistence of my small daughter, I discovered it now offers free Wi-Fi.  A smart executive type sat discreetly in one corner tapping away at her laptop, apparently undisturbed by the numerous small children noisily enjoying their tea and free toys – and the rather bigger children seeing how much they could swear before the manager would evict them.

This new development must surely increase the average dwell-time of the customer, against all the usual business principles of such places.  I suppose the one thing that can be guaranteed is that it must be a very high-speed broadband connection.   When our rural exchange hits one of its frequent slow patches, maybe I should head out for a burger.  Better slip some wet-wipes in my laptop bag – there’s only so much I want to oil the progress of my writing career.

This post was originally published in the February 2010 edition of the Hawkesbury Parish News.