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Anne R. Allen's Blog


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Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Frazzled, Overwhelmed, Swamped? A Writer's Guide to Mental Health

by Ruth Harris

You’re swamped and there are alligators in that swamp. They have sharp teeth and they bite. Their names are Stress, Clutter, Distraction, Disorganization, and Interruption.

You’ve got a book to write, a cover to create, tweets to tweet, promos to set up, blurbs to polish, and pins to Pin. There’s metadata, pricing decisions, giveaways, keywords, tagging, liking, formatting, blogging, Instagramming and facing FaceBook.

Your phone is pinging and your computer is beeping. Your lists have lists, your eyes are crossed from staring at a computer screen all day (and night), and carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t just something that happens to other people.

Frazzled doesn’t even begin to describe it. You’re irritable and short-tempered. You’re working hard but never experience the satisfied feeling that you’ve actually finished something. You can’t think much less think straight. You’re overwhelmed, overcommitted, and in a state of perpetual exhaustion.

You are not alone. Anne and I confess.

Your social media accounts are growing mold and/or they are covered with cobwebs? You got lured in/carried away and signed up for accounts you haven’t visited since the last century?

Ruth blushes and raises her hand.

Your email is a tsunami of the unanswered, unfiled, and/or undeleted? Your in-box overflows with requests for quotes, newsletters, mass mailings and triggers feelings of guilt, fear, panic, and inadequacy?

Anne sighs and raises her hand.

Anne and I have both been feeling overwhelmed lately. We recently compared notes and agreed that we were probably not alone. We decided it was time to take a step back and figure out How To Be A Writer In The E-Age (title alert!) and have a life, too.

Here’s a little of what we learned and what we’re doing about it.

Clutter is toxic. That ready-to-topple stack of messy papers, print outs, scribbled notes you can no longer decipher, remnants of yesterday’s ham sandwich, unsorted receipts, unpaid bills, and that drooping plant gasping for water are the enemy.

Clutter will (literally) fry your brain and torpedo your memory. Not only does a messy desk (or desktop or work space) look unprofessional, clutter is a scientifically proven source or stress.

In a recent study, neuroscientists at Princeton University found that each piece of physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention. Each item shouts “me first!” and the consequence is decreased performance and increased stress

Different people have different definitions for how much clutter is “too much.” Sentimental Sam’s treasured collection of five year’s worth of birthday and Valentine’s Day cards will send Neatnik Nancy shrieking into the abyss.

Still, there are alerts that will let you know when you’ve reached your own limit. A few hints:
  • Need to walk the dog but can’t find him/her anywhere in the chaos?
  • Surprise! You’re almost fifty and you find your high school prom dress lurking in a file drawer?
  • Wow! You’ve been looking high and low for your lawn mower and find it right there, under your desk.
  • Your home office looks even worse than Steve Jobs’s home office?
  • Your Significant Other confuses you with the Collier Brothers?

Sound familiar? If so, develop a realistic system for controlling the clutter. Some like to shovel out the mess straighten out their desk/office first thing in the morning. Others use breaks throughout the day to tidy up as they go along. Still others take a few moments at the end of the day so they can start the next day with a clear mind, ready to go to work.

Some let the chaos build for a while and then set aside a morning, an afternoon, a day if necessary, to dig out.

There is no one way to tackle clutter but whatever approach works best for you, stick to it and make decluttering a habit you incorporate into your daily routine. The reward will be increased peace of mind and an improved ability to concentrate.

Here are a few specific declutter and de-stress how-tos:

Organize and automate.

Writing by its nature is a messy business with notes, ideas, snatches of dialogue, plot points popping up in random order. All need to be organized and eventually wrestled into usable shape. Olde Faithful word processors like Word are powerful and reliable and work perfectly for many.

Newer writing apps take a deeper look at writers’ needs and offer tools to help control and organize the mess.

Scrivener, beloved by many (including me) comes in both Mac and PC versions. Scrivener is an organizing ninja that provides space for your manuscript plus character and place descriptions, and all manner of research including web links, images, audio files and videos. There’s an easily accessible cork board complete with index cards and an outline function. Thanks to Scrivener’s “binder” concept, moving scenes around is quick and easy.

There’s a learning curve but you can easily start with the basics and go on from there with the help of Scrivener’s own videos and tutorials plus loads of on-line info. Scriv offers a generous trial and, if you decide Scrivener is for you, the purchase price is $45.

Ulysses (Mac only) is another, newer but highly-respected writing app and presents the writer with a distraction-zapping interface. Author David Hewson is a fan and has written a number of helpful blog posts about how he uses Ulysses including why it’s so easy to write in Ulysses.

You will find a Ulysses-Scrivener comparison here and another here. Ulysses, like Scriv, offers a FREE trial and will cost $45 if you decide to buy.

Both Scrivener and Ulysses will export your manuscript into pdf and ebook formats.

Atlantis (for PCs) is a full-featured, moderately-priced MSWord lookalike. Comes with a generous FREE try-before-you-buy trial, offers on-line help, and user’s forum. Atlantis can do much of what most modern writing apps do including turn your text into an epub or mobi file.

Evernote and Microsoft’s One Note are both FREE downloadable on-line notebooks that will help organize the clutter. They are fast, searchable, and can be set up in whatever way works best for you.

Backing up your work is critical and being able to do it automatically means one more thing you can delete from your to-list. Some are FREE, others paid. Each takes a slightly different approach and each has its fans. To decide which is best for you, check out:








Distraction and Interruption

Whether it’s the phone, IMs, emails, texts, a friend, a spouse, a neighbor, those interruptions add up and not in a good way. According to a New York Times article distraction actually makes you dumber.

Other data show that the stress of the distraction or interruption causes cognitive fatigue, which leads to omissions, mental slips or lapses, and mistakes.

A 2007 study by Basex estimated that distractions cost $588 billion per year. To compound the issue, the time required to reestablish your focus after an interruption takes even more time out of your productive day.

Another survey found nearly 60% of disruptions come from email, social networks, and cell phones.

Nora Roberts has said that she permits distractions only in the case of “blood or fire.”

Some writers (including Ruth) wear earphones to block out noise and others set timers to carve out no-interrupt writing periods. Still others close the door and post “Do Not Disturb” signs.

MindTools offers an in-depth look at distractions and lists ways to curtail or minimize them.

Laura Stack, a personal productivity expert, looks at the negative impact of self-sabotage and the downside of multitasking. She offers strategies for staying on focus and in the zone.

Anne and Ruth Shape Up And Pare Down

Anne is spending less time on Facebook and she’s taking Thursdays off from all social media. The volume of requests for her time make it impossible for her to deal with them.

From now on she’s decided she’s not going to respond to mass mailings or cold queries. If she doesn’t have time to read newsletters or online magazines, she deletes them immediately. No saving for “later” because she’s found she never gets back to them.

I ration my social media to Twitter (where I’ve made lots of friends and which I enjoy) and indulge in one brief, catch-up session in the morning and another in the evening. Whenever something catches my eye and I think of it, I share it on Pinterest. Otherwise, my moldy, cobwebbed accounts are doomed to stay that way.

I’ve cut down on my blog and basically use it only to announce sales, reveal new covers or introduce new books. If I get a zippy idea I can write quickly, I’ll post it but, otherwise, my blogging is focused here with Anne.

I’m also planning to turn off those annoying email notifications but I haven’t quite gotten around to it yet.

Too busy. ;-)

What about you, Scriveners? Are you feeling a tad frazzled and overwhelmed? Swamped? Are you paring down on Social Media? How about dealing with desk and office clutter? How do you deal with your tsunami of email?



"The songs we sang, the clothes we wore, the way we made love. Absolutely perfect!" ...Publisher's Weekly

Kindle  |  iBooks  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  GooglePlay

THREE WOMEN. THREE DECADES. Spanning the years from the optimistic post-War 1940s to the Mad Men 1950s and rule-breaking "Make Love, Not War" 1960s, DECADES is about three generations of women who must confront the radical changes and upended expectations of the turbulent decades in which they lived.

Evelyn, talented but insecure, is a traditional woman of the Forties. She is a loyal and loving wife and mother whose marriage and family mean everything to her.

Nick, handsome and ambitious, a chameleon who changes with the changing times, is her successful but restless husband.

Joy, their daughter, confused and defiant, a child of the Sixties, needs them both but is torn between them.

Barbara is the other woman, younger than Evelyn, accomplished but alone. She is a transitional woman of the Fifties who wonders if she can have everything--including another woman's husband.

DECADES, sweeping in scope yet intimate in detail, is the emotional, compelling story of family, marriage, crisis, betrayal and healing.


VIGNETTE WRITERS, here's a contest for you! The Vine Leaves Vignette Collection Contest. The prize is for a collection of vignettes and poetry up to 20,000 words. Fee $25.  Prize is $500, publication by Vine Leaves Press (paperback and eBook), 20 copies of the paperback, worldwide distribution, and promotion through the Vine Leaves and staff websites. It will be judged by an editor from Simon and Schuster. Deadline February 28, 2015.

THE MEADOW NOVELLA PRIZE $15 ENTRY FEE. The winner of the contest will receive $500 and publication in the annual print edition of the journal. Submissions should be between 18,000 and 35,000 words.  Deadline February 1, 2015. 

WALKER PERCY PRIZE IN SHORT FICTION $15 ENTRY FEE. Winner receives $1,000 and publication in New Orleans Review. All finalists considered for publication. Enter previously unpublished original stories up to 7,500 words. Deadline December 31st

Writers’ Village International Short Fiction Contest $24 entry fee. Prizes of $1600, $800, $400 and $80. A further ten Highly Commended entrants will receive a free entry in the next round. Professional feedback provided for all entries! Any genre: up to 3000 words. Deadline December 31st.

SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARDS: NO ENTRY FEE. These awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Three awards of $5000 each will be given annually in each of the following categories: birth through grade school (age 0-10), middle school (age 11-13) and teens (age 13-18). May be fiction, biography, or other form of nonfiction. Deadline December 1, 2014. 

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Blogger Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's why I was happy to take a couple days off for the holidays. I feel better now!
I am organized and clutter drives me crazy. I know I'm a natural procrastinator so I try to stay on top of things.
Still old fashioned about the writing though. One notebook of notes and a Word file.
And remember folks - back up your blog once in a while!
Great tips, Ruth.

November 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger CS Perryess said...

Great advice for our crazy world. Thanks! An additional element of my try-to-stay-sane program has to do with how I conceptualize what's going on & what words I apply to the situation. This may sound too simple to be true, but it really works for me. Though I'm tempted to think that things are crazy & overwhelming and there's just too damn much going on, I'm far more productive if I stop that thought as I'm thinking it & try new words. Instead of "overwhelming and too much," I search for a word with a positive connotation, like "abundant." Thus, my life becomes abundant -- not nearly so bad as "overwhelming," yet still quite true. Sounds too simple, but it is a huge help to me.

November 30, 2014 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Wm. L. Hahn said...

This is one of those great, depressing posts, Ruth. I just KNOW you're right. But I honestly think fate itself is against me. Architecture alone... my home office is also the home-school, and the entire downstairs is one long space with kitchen, middle room, living room- front door to back in one underhand ball toss. Everything the three of us do all day has to happen in this space- the only alternative is upstairs, where there are only beds, no chairs! Mix in three cats who love humans and hate each other, shake vigorously and pour evenly over the day. Laugh or scream, easy choice.
You know what? Almost a million words in five years under these conditions, I'm a frickin' writing machine! And I must say, when you said that distractions make you dumber, I felt the meaning of my life unfold like origami in the shower...

November 30, 2014 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Alex—Thanks! And thank you for the reminder to back up your blog. We all need that reminder!

November 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

CS—Actually, that sounds brilliant to me. Words are powerful and the ones we use when we talk to ourselves impact the way we think and feel. I will remember "abundant" every time I think "overwhelmed." Thanks to you.

November 30, 2014 at 10:52 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Wm—You *are* a writing machine! I'm super impressed and wonder if the cats/humans act as positive stimulants or a kind of energetic background to your work. To quote a famous philosopher: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. ;-)

November 30, 2014 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Eileen Goudge said...

Thank you, Ruth! It's nice knowing I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed. Lately I've been questioning the value of all that social media. There's social value, for sure. I've met some terrific people and connected with fellow authors, mainly through Facebook and Twitter. Monetary not so much. If I were to put dollar value on all the time spent online based on number of books sold, it would amount to minimum wage. A sobering thought.

November 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Eileen—Good point! IME that would put us into the realm of negative numbers. Is there even an algo for that? lol

November 30, 2014 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger Collette Cameron said...

Oh my gosh, I'm waving my hand here! The more I do, the more I seem to have to do!!

November 30, 2014 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

I actually set a date when I would go indie (May 1), and now I'm suddenly freaking out about it. Organization is the toughest thing because I already have an idea of what needs to be documented and I have to work on the habit now, not wait until the last minute. One of the things I ran across is from a book called Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead By Example http://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388.

One of the things it says to do is have one place for your calendar/planner; one place for your notes; one place for your to-dos -- or not a lot of post-its and scattered notes (which would cut clutter). Most of what organization gurus say doesn't really work for me because I'm right brained, but this was a nice alternative that I could customize. I ended up consolidating my calendar/planner and address book into one book and notes for everything into a sectioned notebook (actually 2, since I separated work from home). I have notes for the latest novel, notes from the con I just went to, notes from an online lecture, directions (that I can use again in two months), the grocery list and recipes (printed and taped to the pages), and things I need to remember to do over the next three months. It has cut the clutter of scattered notes and pages of recipes, and I consolidated all my addresses, which were in three places.

November 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Much needed post, Ruth. What happens when you don't de-clutter and un-frazzle is you get sick. That's what's happened to me. I have the worst case of flu ever. Ten days in and I can hardly hold my head up. So de-stress, people! Do what I say and not what I do. :-)

November 30, 2014 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Linda--rilliant & also very simple. Thanks for adding a great approach to corralling the mess.Sorry, my iPad is acting up! Too much stress? Anyway, the first word is supposed to be "brilliant"--

November 30, 2014 at 2:36 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Anne--aaargh. This is awful! Feel better soon! We need you!

November 30, 2014 at 2:39 PM  
OpenID paulfahey said...

Hi, Ruth, what a wealth of information here. Definitely going to file with my resources. To read later. :) Kidding. Fortunately I don't have clutter. I never keep emails, delete after I read them and try to keep my inbox clear. Maybe it means I don't have that many friends. Not sure but it works for me. Also I keep all of my notes in one notebook. A large one when I'm writing a new novella. Have sections for things I need to remember, character sketches, scene ideas, and while I'm writing I put revision notes on Post Its and just stick them into the revision section of the notebook, to be dealt with later. We had a lot of stress over the holiday with a sick sheltie, so I lost track of where I was in my ms. Had to go back and reread the first two chaps--all there is so far--and wouldn't you know I started to revise. For me, that's the biggest distraction of all. Going backward. I'm always telling my writer friends to get thru the first draft. Push ahead and don't look back. That's what my Post Its are for when something comes to mind I don't want to deal with at the moment. So never again. I'm moving forward and taking some of my own medicine. I just finished Decades and loved it. Thank you for another great post. Paul

November 30, 2014 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger Barry Knister said...

Not long ago, Anne wrote a post about being frazzled, over-worked, over-booked, over-extended, etc. I remember speculating that some people in this state actually gain a kind of dubious satisfaction and ego boost from the struggle. For such people, being too busy translates into being important, in demand, fully engaged, etc. When I consider the incredible list of tasks facing the writer as identified in your post, I can't help asking what amounts to a rhetorical question: what would Faulkner think of all this? What would be his reaction to Scrivener, Evernote, Dropbox, etc? As I say, a question to which we already know the answer.
I am feeling a little mischievous just now, so I have to qualify the findings of Princeton's neuroscientists regarding the negative effects of messiness. Other research (don't ask where it was done, I don't remember) proves that being too tidy in the workplace is less desirable than being untidy. This was demonstrated in terms of filing. Those who conscientiously filed anything and everything each time a document was used were less productive than those who had the most frequently needed documents spread out all over the place. Their offices looked chaotic, but they could put their hands on what they needed without having each time to go to the file drawer, etc.
Clutterers--the only thing we have to tidy is tidiness itself!

November 30, 2014 at 3:27 PM  
Blogger Linda Maye Adams said...

I used to be in the military and always had problems. I kept what I needed near me and was always lectured on how messy my desk was -- and my boss' looked worse, but he could never find anything. The fastest way for me to lose something is to put it into that black hole called the file cabinet.

November 30, 2014 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger Liz Crowe said...

when all else fails, drink. I mean.. you know..."meditate...."
Great post as usual Anne. thanks. I shared it all over the place.

November 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Liz--This post is 100% from Ruth. I couldn't write a blogpost this week if my life depended on it. I'm under the weather with a toxic flu. And yes, a little "meditation" helps a lot. Thanks for sharing!

November 30, 2014 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger M Pax said...

Unplugging at least one day a week is nirvana. Some things we just have to let go.

November 30, 2014 at 5:38 PM  
Blogger Sarah Brentyn said...

I think I had a panic attack reading those first four paragraphs.

Thank you for this post--the whole thing. Right now, I'm working on the "declutter and de-stress" part. Well, also the "distraction and interruption". I know I could benefit from the automated stuff but it stresses me out. Not helpful. ;-) I'll use the tech for organization, though. Thanks again for sharing this.

November 30, 2014 at 8:17 PM  
OpenID zeesouthcombe.com said...

Excellent, excellent post.

So good knowing I'm not alone in the panic and overwhelmededness of it all.

Cause that's a word. Sigh.

I force myself to do some yoga - even just 5 or 10 mins - when I'm feeling overwhelmed and it usually brings me back down.

In terms of clutter, I don't mind my workspace being messy. I need things to be accessible when I'm in the throes of a project. Once a project is over, I make a day of decluttering. Like you said, each to their own :-)

A significant step to help with the frazzled feeling - that I'm still working on - is to really think twice, and then once more, about what I'm taking on. I'm also learning that it's okay to have taken something on, then realise it's too much, and back out (in a considerate and appropriate manner) of that extra responsibility.

As for social media... that's a whole 'nother kettle of fish. For me, it's invaluable, because I can connect with like-minded people at a time that suits me. I don't mind if I don't get monetary value from it, because without their moral support I wouldn't be nearly as productive as I am.

I think I'm going to turn off the email notifications, too.

November 30, 2014 at 11:47 PM  
Blogger Murees Dupé said...

My desk can really do with some organization and decluttering. Lately I have decided to go social media free on weekends, to give my brain some stress free time. But only time will tell. Thank you so much for sharing this great post, tips and advice.

December 1, 2014 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Collette—Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope some of the suggestions will help!

December 1, 2014 at 3:55 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Paul—Thanks for the comment and for the kind words about Decades. Anne and I are certainly inspired by your email management!

Love your Post-Its usage!

December 1, 2014 at 4:02 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Barry—thank you for the thoughtful comment. Clutter is personally defined. As long as clutter is useful, there is no reason to tidy up. But when clutter impedes, then tidying up will most likely set you back on course again.

December 1, 2014 at 4:04 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Liz—lol. Thanks for sharing. ;-)

December 1, 2014 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

M Pax—Sounds like an excellent approach!

December 1, 2014 at 4:07 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Sarah—Thanks for your comment but a panic attack is the last thing we have in mind around here! Hope at least some of the links/ideas will help de-stress!

December 1, 2014 at 4:08 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

zeesouthcombe—Thank you for the flattering words. Since 5 or 10 minutes of yoga help you regain perspective, then you've come up with valuable and reliable way to counter the stress. It's an excellent idea and one many of us could gain from. Thanks for sharing!

December 1, 2014 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Murees—Thank you for taking the time to comment. Identifying the clutter/disorganization that is sucking time and energy is the crucial first step. After that, clearing the clutter or reining in the disorganization follows almost automatically. IME a system, however simple or informal, goes a long way.

December 1, 2014 at 4:21 AM  
Blogger Cat Michaels said...

Appreciate your courage in speaking up about this subject. I constantly fight the feeling of being overwhelmed. I recently tried unplugging from social media on weekends....or try to, anyway. When I return on Mondays, my head is clear, and I feel better able to tackle my long to-do list. Also, having fewer stacks of files (virtual and hard copy) to sort through helps me feels as if I'm ahead of the game. Thanks!

December 1, 2014 at 6:29 AM  
OpenID bmontesdeoca said...

As soon as I began reading the first lines I stressed out and everything I had to do came to mind. The post is spot on. I've learned that working somewhere that is not home is ideal for me, I don't take a cell phone, neither do I look for places with WiFi (usually public libraries work great for me). Also, I work better in the mornings so I shifted to morning writing instead of late typing.

I think the key here is working the discipline instead of the inspiration. Many times I've stood in front of my computer just typing endless nonsense merely because it forces me into writing what I need to write.

Also...youtube is evil.

December 1, 2014 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Bernardo Montes de Oca said...

Don't know why it posted from my wordpress account. I meant to use my Google account. Great post!

December 1, 2014 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Cat—Thank *you* So glad to hear you've found ways to effectively fight feeling overwhelmed. Seems like unplugging socmed for a while really helps many of us.

December 1, 2014 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

bmontesdeoca—Thanks for sharing your methods of working productively. The phone is a prime villain at distraction/interruption! You've also made an excellent point that discipline trumps inspiration. Discipline is reliable; inspiration comes and goes at it own pleasure. Writer, take heed!

December 1, 2014 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Christine Ahern said...

Great post. Funny and educational. The best combination. Do grandchildren count as a major distraction? You better believe it!

December 2, 2014 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger SK Figler said...

I have built desks and purchased desks to hold the clutter, which of course, leads to more clutter. So, I moved to a smaller home and office. Which only made the piles higher. Which has led me to consider the benefits of fire. (I wonder if that was the purpose of the invention/discovery of fire: cave clutter.
I'm one of those sad souls who completely forgets about what's in a file drawer/cabinet. It's like putting these things down the trash chute (NYers will know about trash chutes.) Out of sight, out of mind.
For this reason, I used to think that piles of papers were better than files. But that was when I only had a dissertation, a book-in-progress, and student papers to deal with. Now---possibly a function of "advanced" age---I don't know what's in the piles. So, Anne & Ruth, in response to your great post, I promise to clean off and up my desk. This afternoon. Maybe.

December 2, 2014 at 12:01 PM  
Blogger Natalie M said...

Clutter is a big problem. I am a bit of a "saver" myself, even when things should just be tossed. (It stems from a desire not to regret throwing out something I may need later. I don't believe I've crossed into "hoarder" territory, but there are areas of some closets that might say otherwise.)

I am very organized (voted "Most Organized" in high school, thank you very much! yes, yes: NERD ALERT. But I own it!) and that's how I manage to keep more than I should. But there is something to be said for just getting rid of things. To that end, I love the simple idea of deleting newsletters or online magazines instead of saving for "later." I have nearly 400 saved in one of my email folders and, frankly, who the hell am I trying to kid here? If I don't have time to read one in a day, when will I have time to tackle that many? And at that point, how would I even pick and choose what to read? I'm certain it would be better to designate a specific time frame each day/week to read, and anything that doesn't fit in that time gets tossed.

Thanks, too, for the great resources for backing up.

Wishing everyone a stress-free (and healthy!) holiday season. Cheers!

December 2, 2014 at 12:51 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Thanks, Christine, and yes, they do! ;-)

December 2, 2014 at 1:27 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

SK—LOL We feel your pain. Truly. :-)

December 2, 2014 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Natalie—Computer clutter is its own special sub-division of hell. I have to tackle mine. I know I do. I know I will feel better. But have I done it? Ha.

December 2, 2014 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Shah Wharton said...

Oh my, I stopped saying 'Check' after around he tenth. This so me, and I'm pleased (sorry) that I'm not alone. I now have a reference to send everyone to who wonders why I'm so stressed all the time... they think my life is so simple, even idyllic --- little do they know. Lol...

I'm off to check out a few of those links. :)


December 3, 2014 at 4:55 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Shah—Hope some of the ideas/links helped de-stress you and, no, you are not alone! :-)

December 3, 2014 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger LD Masterson said...

I read part of this post and realized I haven't seen the dog for awhile. I'm going to root through the clutter on (around, under) my desk) and dig her out, then I'm coming back. I so need this advice today.

December 4, 2014 at 4:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

LD—Please give that poor dog a goody for me. Or is there a sandwich somewhere in the clutter for the dog? LOL Thanks for the comment!

December 4, 2014 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Jan Ryder said...

Glad to know that I'm not alone in fighting off those pesky alligators in the clutter/stress swamp. A good post, Ruth. I'll check out some of your helpful links. Hope Anne feels better soon.

December 6, 2014 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Jan—Thanks! Good luck with those mean alligators. Hope some of the links help smite them.

December 6, 2014 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Nilyad said...

I think the 'right-side' screen is having a SEIZURE; I loved the 'left-side' writeup though.

January 6, 2015 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Nilyad--Are you having trouble seeing the sidebar? It looks fine in Chrome. What browser are you using? It may be a temporary Google glitch. I just had trouble loading the blog, but now it's fine. Thanks for the heads-up.

January 6, 2015 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Ruth Harris said...

Nilyad—Aaaaargh! Hate right side screen melt downs, don't you?

Thank you for the compliments to the left side. Hope some of the ideas helped.

January 6, 2015 at 2:20 PM  

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