The Order of Disorder

I’ve been weirdly productive lately. I guess I shouldn’t complain. Somehow I’m accomplishing a lot and feel like everything else in organized in a way that indicates that it WILL be done soon. In the last 3 days, I cleaned out the refrigerator, cleaned the kitchen & dining room, picked up every room upstairs (still need to vacuum), went through all of Z’s clothes and brought out the next size up, organized the hand-me-downs to give to 3 different friends, bought supplies for & planted a potted herb garden, bought a carseat for our nephew, renewed a magazine subscription & mailed a birthday card to a friend (on time!). I also took the kids to the library, bought 5 really cool books at the book sale, found a book on CD and loaded it onto my Itunes (which I’ve been listening to for the last day). In the next few days, I plan to grocery shop (to restock the fridge), vacuum the upstairs, clean the garage a bit & go to the aquarium with a friend. I’d also like to go to Kohl’s to use a giftcard and buy some makeup and perhaps a flashy outfit for a dinner out this weekend. How did I suddenly become so efficient?

Ironically, I think it’s all because I’ve been reading this book about how a bit of mess & disorganization can be good. A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, how can you not love that??? It seems counterintuitive, but the book’s main point is that keeping things in a perfect order, keeping things organized and having a plan, wastes time and energy, thereby making it difficult (or for me, impossible) to ever get anything done. You could say that I’ve found my bible.

When I found the book on the Clearance table at a Barnes & Noble in Burlington, I thought it would be a funny book to have on my bookshelf. You know, among the mess. I loved the cover with its slightly askew lampshade. It was marked down to $5.95, so I figured I didn’t have much to lose.

Let me be very clear about this……I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK.

It’s smart and logical and cites numerous sociological studies. It refers back to brilliant people through history and illustrates the “habits of highly effective people” (literally). It’s a book that I find myself exclaiming “Yes!” while reading. As I read it, I think about how much the theories really do relate to me….not in an ignorant “I need an excuse” way, in a calm “I’ve finally found my bee people” way. Basically, if you stop trying to “order” everything, and just let things go a bit, an organic order will develop….and it will fit better with YOUR system and nature….thereby making your work more efficient. This has to do with tasks, objects, schedules…even thoughts.

When people see the book or hear me talking about it, they roll their eyes and say something cute like “Oh, does this give you an excuse?” Well, luckily, they don’t need to read it. All I know is that instead of spending the weekend constantly cleaning the living room, which immediately gets messed anyway, as I usually do, I accomplished everything else.  I accomplished things that I didn’t even know that I had to do.

How can you argue with that?


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