I woke up at 3:45am yesterday…ouch. Four cups of coffee and 15 hours later, I had somehow blown through a couple to do lists, but the day started on a low note.
Sleeplessness and unwanted early mornings typically ambush me when there’s a lot going on in my life. It’s Mother Nature’s sneaky little paradox: the more I need sound sleep, the less capable I am of getting it. Working hard and late means that when even everything is nicely wrapped up, I’m far too amped to flip the light switch and fall asleep. I read and dilly dally until my lids finally get heavy, but morning always breaks too fast.
After I attempted to recapture the sandman for awhile, I finally gave up on sleep and committed to starting the day. A few tasks had been on my to do list long enough that they were suddenly time-sensitive, so I spent the next two hours finishing a birthday gift for my mom and wrapping up my taxes. Then I sat down, banged out a few emails I owed, and realized that maybe the early AM wakeup call had been a blessing in disguise.
There are weeks when attempting productivity feels like beheading the hydra: for every project you finish, two more spring up in its place. My usual response to this feeling is to dedicate an entire evening or weekend day to knocking out as many projects as possible…but when the week is full of 12-hour work days, it’s difficult to carve out the time.
My place reflects this state of mind. If the bed is made and there are no dishes in sight, I’m either having a breezy week or expecting company. When the couch is invisible underneath a mountain of clothes? Yeah, my coffee mug is permanently attached to my hand, and I may accidentally give you the stinkeye.
Today I finally reached the eye of the storm and had a few hours to get things done. Before reaching for my to do list, I realized that the most important thing was to make my place. Even though I have a beautiful, curbsurfed drop leaf table in my room that can serve as a desk, it’s usually covered with far too many things to actually prove useful. I end up working at the dining room table, trundling my laptop and stacks of notebooks up and down the stairs from my room or feeling guilty about leaving them out (dear roommates: I’m sorry and you’re the best).
The firm decision to make my table a workspace rather than extra stacking space caused a chain reaction. I moved my jewelry organizer to the top of my dresser. Then the loose black and white family photos that have been on the dresser for months went into my French dictionary for a temporary pressing. A few more belongings went into the spring cleaning/Goodwill box and so on down the line.
After clearing all the clutter, I had my beautiful table back. Sitting down to write felt like dropping the weight of an unbalanced load and standing back up unencumbered. The psychological impact of working in a clean space isn’t lost on me: after spending plenty of mornings moving tabletop junk to my bed, then moving it right back after working, I’m breathing easier and writing more freely than usual (even after my 4am wakeup). It may not look like much, but my place just became way more creative.
Happy spring cleaning to everyone! Have you made any positive changes to your space recently?