I had my “Filing Boot Camp” this weekend. I brought all of my files together and consolidated them into a couple of roomy filing drawers.  Here is the before picture:


It was more work than I expected. I went through every file and threw away a ton of paper that used to be important. As I dug in, I found myself wanting to take short-cuts. I had to remind myself, “No shortcuts! This is boot camp.” I carefully detatched file labels, neatly printed on them with my turquoise magic marker and precisely inserted them into their tiny plastic sleeve. Personal files went in the left drawer, work files in the right. I categorized the red, blue and orange file folders. I even used the new scanner on my phone (iscanner) to digitize some documents. Eventually, I hauled a mountain of paper to the recycling bin. I put away the filing supplies. I was done.

It wasn’t very fun.

There was nothing magical about being finished. I didn’t get a gold star nor did a marching band herald me on the street! I was organized and I was tired. Filing involves lots of decision-making and that’s exhausting too. I began thinking about all of the other things around the house that weren’t done. I couldn’t savor the fact my files were in order, even though it was a beautiful sight. Here they are:


Of course, there are some things in life that need to be done and won’t be fun. However, I began thinking about the other “to-do” projects in my queue. Perhaps I shouldn’t pursue them with the same vigor with which I had gone after the filing project. In fact, maybe I should decide to *not* work on some of them for now.

As you may know from an earlier post, I have been diligently organizing photos from our house and my mom’s. It’s difficult to tackle these boxes of delayed decisions. Up until this point, nobody has chosen what to keep and what to toss.  I shipped a box of slides to a digitizing company and have (kind of) figured out which pictures are more interesting than others. But sorting through the pictures is like picking at a scab and making it bleed every day.

Today I took this project off my “to do” list. I’m taking a break. This morning, I put the thousands of jagged pictures into a big box and hid them in a closet. Maybe I will revisit them in a year. I’m not going to be done with them anytime soon, despite my conscientious personality and my bag of organizational tricks.

Gretchen Rubin, one of my favorite writers, writes about how, “The opposite of a profound truth is also true.” I think that theory applies here. It’s great to get things done; it’s also important to not get things done.

May you have good luck discerning what needs to be done and what doesn’t this summer! Thanks for reading. 🙂