It’s Not Just You

Many many photos scattered on a floor under a desk One of the funniest things that happens when I start working with a new client is that, eventually, that person will look at me dolefully and say, “I’m the worst you’ve seen, aren’t I?” To which I inevitably reply, “You’d have to be in pretty darned bad shape to be the worst I’ve seen. So, no.”

Truth? Things get crazy everywhere sometimes. And one of the hardest things to deal with is that things frequently get uglier on their way to getting better.

Here: I’ll tell you a little story. I’m pretty darned neat, but that doesn’t mean that things don’t get unattractive around here sometimes. I keep my photos in albums, which is a great system for me, but it means that if I don’t get photos printed out for a while, I can end up with hundreds and hundreds to deal with at a time. The last time I did this, I had let about two years elapse (I’m busy, okay?), so I needed to print about 1000 pictures. I have doubles and sometimes triples printed up when I do this, since the ones I’d want to put in an album are frequently ones I want to send to other people, and it makes sense to do both tasks at the same time.

So, big job, but just time consuming, right? When I got the photos back, they weren’t in date order, nor were the duplicates even together. Augh! This meant I need to sort about 2500 photos to match them and get them back in order. After I did that, I needed to get them in the albums and reconstruct the dates they were taken. And I did, but Jeez Louise!

The thing is, everyone has big crazy messes sometimes. And we have to have patience with the jobs and with ourselves as we slog our way through them, or else we get overwhelmed, don’t deal, and it just keeps getting worse. My office looked pretty bad while I was doing this, but I just had to suck it up. And you know what? It got better because I was willing to wade into the weeds.

If I’d waited another year to do the photos, I would have run out of floor space to sort them onto. And more importantly, I would have missed another year of being able to enjoy the pictures with my family. The whole point of getting and staying organized is making it easier to live a peaceful, meaningful life with time for the people and things that are really important to us, right? And sometimes that requires a face-first dive into the chaos.

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