Warning: This is one of those rambling posts for me about productivity (or lack thereof). Read at your own risk!

My desk is a mess right now. It’s not the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last. This is the kind of thing that drives my husband crazy – he can’t stand to see clutter. Good thing we don’t share an office at work! Neither one of us is good at paper management, but he chooses to hide it out of sight in drawers and stacked neatly in trays. For me, the clutter is spread all over the surface of my U-shaped desk. This is a dangerous type of work surface for me.

I know that it’s easier to get stuff done when my desk is clean and I can find everything I need. But somehow dealing with the stuff is the sticking point. I can’t seem to motivate myself to do the things I know I “should” do when it’s something that I don’t enjoy doing. And if the “should” activity only benefits me, it goes to the bottom of the pile. After all, it’s only for my benefit. Somehow it’s easy to reason that I can choose to not do the activity when it’s only for me anyway.

It’s how I approach a lot of things – exercise, eating right, staying organized, you name it. Even my devotional life can suffer. I come back again and again to issues of personal discipline, and I have made the commitment to cross off any to-do list item that doesn’t have a “why” (a reason for doing it). But I have a lot of “why” items that make sense and yet I’d rather just cross them off and not do them. It’s like there is a Bartleby living in my head, who just “prefers not to” do anything. In many ways, I understand that this is the tendency toward depression that lurks inside of me. It’s the reason I generally make myself go to work and why I seek out time with others whenever possible. If not, I would end up watching television all day, lost in a sea of depression. And no amount of Doctor Who on Netflix can clear that up.

Ironically, I’ve found that when I just start doing something, it’s so much easier to accomplish. It’s the starting that’s hardest. Why is that? I don’t know exactly, but I’m wondering if the commitment I need to make to myself is not to finish the items on my to-do list, but merely to start working on each of them.

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