October Defrag

defragWhere did the summer go? Yes, I know it’s already well into fall, but I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that this is the fifth (fifth!) week of classes in a ten-week term, and all of those October deadlines for various projects that seemed oh so far away are, well, not.

And then there is the business side of being a writer, the queries, the promotion, the social media, the networking.

Please know that I am not complaining. Or, if I am complaining (and I may be), it is about myself, not about a writing career. I wake up every morning and go to bed every night grateful to do work—writing, teaching, indexing—that I love. Literally every morning and night.

My problem is that I’ve become fragmented.

My lay understanding of the process of defragmenting a hard drive is that it moves files around, kind of like Tetris blocks, freeing up enough contiguous space so that clusters of information that had previously been chopped up can be once again reunited in like clusters. But without the free space, the movement can’t occur. (My techie friends are free to correct any errors in this explanation.)

That seems to be my problem. I have a lot of clusters in my work life that I love, but they are all chopped up and spread everywhere, so that I have difficulty seeing the big picture, the pattern, and instead am pulled toward the urgent rather than the important. My free space/time is also chopped up, minutes here and there rather than a block of hours, so I have little room to do some needed prioritization and rearranging.

What get lost are tasks that I’ve been meaning to get to for days, if not weeks: letting people know about Christi Craig’s wonderful new website design (her recent post on bits and pieces is inspiring) or Erin Reel’s involvement in the new LitReactor project, catching up with Twitter follows and retweets and creating some schedules for writing projects, volunteer tasks, reading plans, marketing needs.

It was a post by my friend and blogging cohort E. Victoria Flynn on her innovative answer to the insanity of Facebook that made me realize I need to devote October to some of my own creative problem solving. As those of you who have read this blog for awhile know, the quest for organization and simplification is an ongoing one for me. I have made progress in the past year that I thought wasn’t possible, but I also know that I can’t become complacent, because I have the kind of personality that does not do tasks such as defragmentation naturally. I need to put myself on a schedule of regularly reviewing my activities and goals, and moving like-minded items closer to each other so as to make room for more sustained and peaceful work. A continual work in progress.

My goal today? Set aside an hour (my first impulse is to say 30 minutes, but I always underestimate such things) for responding to blog comments, managing Twitter follows/lists, and creating Facebook lists so as to post writing updates only to those who are interested. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it goes.

Anyone else feel the need to defrag?

P.S. Of course, not all of life can be controlled. While I was writing this post, my husband called to say that while he was crossing the street to catch the bus to work this morning, a bird dropped a surprise fragment on his head, necessitating an unplanned stop at a restroom for an impromptu shampoo.

P.P.S. On an entirely unrelated note, yesterday I posts a new post at Psychology Today about the importance of honoring our interests.