External realities are roadblocks that interfere with organization, which are not of my own making—or at least, not totally.
These are things that "happpened" to me. I need to face them, accept them, deal with them, resolve them (when possible).
Julie's book has a little quiz on this section. These are the items that apply to me.
- Company downsized/merger/growth/etc.—This is several lumped all into one. At the end of 2006, my publishing company went out of business (except in name only). Had to move all the stuff from the warehouse back to my home. Went into a major depression/flu. Spent about 6 months in bed. Still have not dealt with all the ramifications, excess or decided what exactly I'm going to do with this company. Let it go completely? Or revive it somehow?
- Starting home business—Since the beginning of 2007, I've tried a number of work-at-home business ventures, including various blogging for money, selling on ebay. editing, typesetting, customized jewely, Twilight-inspired fragrances sold online, Fragrance Designer for Urban Botanic (also now defunct), research assistant, writing my own books, asst. manager of a bookstore, book reviewer, etc. I still do some of them; have quit doing some. I'm having trouble deciding what to do when I grow up. Still looking for one that's a good fit for me and will earn a living.
- Family changes—the last child just married and moved out. We're transitioning into the empty nest lifestyle and learning to be parents to adults.
- Outside pressures—I often feel a pressure to respond to phone calls and e-mails on the other person's time frame, rather than my own.
- Technology—I have a hard time keeping up with upgrades and changes in my computer systems. My PC is outdated and slow. I've set up a virtual PC on my Mac, but it's not working efficiently. I can't find a time management system that I like so my brain is scattered between a paper planner, wall calendar, iPod touch, Palm Pilot, Franklin system, and iCal. Something has to give.
- Skill needs—Not in Julie's book, but just as real—one of the new venture ideas that has the most energy for me requires me to learn a whole new skill set—HTML and CSS mark-up; and file conversion of various types. I don't have the software or the resources to learn it right now and I'm too cluttered and disorganized to do it. At the moment.
- Interruptions—I have constant interruptions at work. And distractions.
- Deadlines—I work in a dead-line driven business—or at least, a good portion of it is. Deadlines for editing, typesetting, blogging, order fulfillment, etc. I really, really hate deadlines. They make me physically ill. I want to be done ahead instead of always playing catch-up.
- Paperwork—I have a paper-intensive business. I'm trying to convert much of it to electronic formats but that's not working as well as I'd like it to work. Plus, I "think with ink". Sometimes I don't know what I think or feel until I write it down. Typing on the computer doesn't do the same thing for me. I need to have a physical pen and paper and the kinesthetic motion of writing.
- Transition—I'm in the midst of several transitions. Moving to the empty nest, turning 50 in a few months, grandparenting, changing careers, switching the focus of my business.
- Boss—I have a highly disorganized boss (me) who constantly interferes with my work day.
- Spouse—My DH is a clutter-bug/mild hoarder.
So according to the quiz, I have to deal with the following external realities:
- an unrealistic workload
- the speed of life/technology
- life transition
- uncooperative partner (he's not really uncooperative, he just works so much that it's tough for him to get organized too)
- temporarily limited space—I'll have plenty of space once I dejunk
Just knowing that they exist takes a lot of the guilt out of my situation. And that's a good thing because guilt completely freezes me up and makes me non-functional.