>The Office and the Hit Counter

>Let me say up front that my Hit Counter seems to be broken. Right around January 1, it quit showing me how many of you are reading my blog. I was averaging about 100 hits a day when it quit counting, or quit showing me the count. I’ve sent an email to the support people at Easy-Hit-Counters.com but no one has responded. So, if anyone knows how to fix this, please let me know! (I’m wondering if you have to renew every year, since it quit around the first of the year… but it’s FREE, so what’s up with that?) But now, on to things I know how to fix:

I’ve now completed the first full week of my New Year’s Plan, Operation Order Out of Chaos , and I’m happy to report the following successes:

Organize—the Closet was done last Tuesday, and on Saturday I completed The Office. Well, like The Closet, I only organized HALF of The Office. My half. I share an office with a genius. Need I say more? Oh, before I continue, I must say that the first time I did laundry after organizing The Closet, I couldn’t believe how much easier it was. For example, as I pulled a black knit top from the stack of clothes I was folding on our bed, I carried it to the closet and voila! There was its very own empty shirt hanger, waiting in the middle of the other black tops. No scrunching the clothes together to make room. No searching for a hanger. And as I opened my drawers to put away folded items, there was actually room in the drawers, now that the sweaters are all folded neatly on the shelves in The Closet. Ahhhhh.

But back to The Office. The main problem areas were the stacks of stuff that had “grown” in the middle of the room over the past few months… some of it I had brought from my mother’s apartment in Jackson, and some accumulated while searching for addresses for Christmas cards. The rest was mostly writing stuff—craft magazines and folders from critique group meetings—all things needing their own place in this tiny shared space.

The other problem area was the tall skinny shelves by the printer. You can’t really tell how bad these spaces were by the pictures. The point is, I had no work space and it took me forever to find things when I needed them. Until NOW.

First I took a large plastic bin and filled it with all my VISA receipts since 2002…which were in various shoe boxes and envelopes throughout the office. Before closing it, I asked my husband if he wanted to add his receipts, to clear more space in his side of the office, and he quickly pulled them from file drawers by his desk and added them to the box. I labeled it and placed it at the bottom of the stairs for its trip to the attic later.

Then I got a second large plastic bin and filled it with miscellaneous photographs that aren’t (yet) in albums. Some of these were in the office, and others were in the master bedroom, so this step also helped me towards my next bedroom organizing project—the shelves by my bureau. Hubby took both bins to the attic later, and we found a place for them beside the twenty-something bins my daughter organized up there over the holidays.

Two large cans were filled with trash, and in three hours the space was organized and functional. It’s not perfect—my computer desk sits in a space that used to be a closet, but at least there are nice shelves above it. And the files in our office and laundry room both need to be gone through, but that’s a bigger project than 3-4 hours, so I’ll save it for a weekend when I can get hubby to help. I’m thinking we’ve got a free weekend in 2010, but I’m not sure….

So, that was Organize. Now, for the next of the three goals:

Exercise—I made it to the gym and worked out on the elliptical machine 3 times in the past five days! I’m scheduling only 3X week, but I hope to expand it to 4 or 5 eventually.

And the third goal:

Write—finally I’m back at “work” and was able to spend about 5 hours writing last Friday, and about 6 hours today. I’m restructuring the last two chapters that I drafted of my memoir, which takes a lot more energy than just getting a first draft down. Today I picked up where I left off on the last chapter, hoping to complete a draft in time to submit it to both writing critique groups—deadlines are this coming Thursday and Saturday. (one week before monthly meetings of each group)

But work on the book is such a long-term process, that sometimes I need a “quick fix,” so today I drafted an essay to submit to a magazine that has published several of my pieces in the past. I think the personal essay is my favorite genre of writing. It just doesn’t feel like “work” when I’m writing an essay. I’ll polish it a little more over the next few days (when I take breaks from the book) and send it in…. I’ll let you know if it’s published!

Other “work” that needed tending finally made it to the top of the pile that had grown on my workspace in front of my computer during the holidays—follow ups on email queries to a few agents, gathering information and registering for an upcoming conference, and prioritizing two essay contests with deadlines in the next couple of months.

Oh, and this weekend I finally tested some of new “portable office” gadgets that I got for Christmas. Beth gave me this terrific green wireless mouse for my laptop… it uses a jump-drive thingy instead of something with another cord to get in the way. And I got this precious mouse pad with the cute kitty on it.

And for traveling, hubby gave me this small, lightweight printer, so I hooked it all up and did a test-run in the den on Sunday evening. It all works great, so I’m ready to hit the road.

Only thing is, I’m happy to be home for a while! It felt so peaceful in my office today that Oreo (my cat) decided to join me for a while. We both enjoyed the sunshine coming in from the back yard, which finally lured me out to the gym and the grocery store late this afternoon. But you know what? I’m really looking forward to spending more time in The Office tomorrow. It’s peaceful here. Next week I think I’ll conquer the chaos in the laundry room… or maybe the guest room closet… or maybe the bedroom shelves and drawers….. Stay tuned.

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