Three days a week, I go in to the office to work. My official title is Accounting Manager, which sounds like I am a CPA, but I am not. My title should probably be “Everything That Has To Do With Money,” complete with unnecessary capitalization. I handle Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable, reconcile commission statements, deal with the payroll, track everyone’s PTO, upload 401(k) contributions, and balance the books. I also get the chance to do quite a bit of writing and editing, which I love.
When I started this job twelve years ago, I had recently stopped teaching elementary school and was looking for something that was not as emotionally draining. I immediately termed my new job “refreshingly monotonous.” Not boring, necessarily, just predictable… and after years of teaching, predictability was something that I craved.
Contrary to the difficulty I have getting organized at home, I am very organized at work. File cabinets, desk drawers, my desktop: there is a place for everything. Everything is not always in its place – I still spread things out like crazy when I am working on a task – but as soon as I get the chance, I put it all back where it goes. When I started, I chuckled at how the girl training me had to have her stapler just so, but some of it must have rubbed off on me. My stapler has to be in front of the paper clip holder, beside the date stamper, on the little shelf above the scratch paper, or it will drive me crazy.
Knowing that I have organizing skills and the discipline to implement them in one area of my life lets me know that lack of skill is not what is keeping me from being just as organized at home. The difference is that I have no sentimental or emotional attachment to the things that surround me at work. In my home, everything is imbued with meaning or memory or possible utility, so everything I touch requires a decision, a plan, or a future. I can handle those things, and I do, but multiply this process by thousands of items and I sometimes feel I will never get through it all.
This is where I need to take another tip from my office routine. There are plenty of things there that I do not like to do, but they need to get done so I plow through them. One by one. Until they are finished.