Sunday, June 6, 2010

Overloaded by Organizing

I have a long list of things I want to organize. The list dates back to the late 1990s, as some collections never stop expanded. Some of the items I'm trying to organize:

1. Books. Most are shelved by topic and author while others remain in boxes. Books are entered into a database, too. I was using EndNote, but migrated to Bookends. I have been creating duplicate data online via Goodreads and Visual Bookshelf. The data from Bookends is also on my iPod Touch so I know what I own when shopping.

2. CDs. I love music and have a lot of CDs, which I prefer for sound quality. Yes, I can tell the difference until they up the bit rate for all downloads. Classical music, jazz, and show tunes really do sound "choppy" and "hollow" at 128Kbps. The CDs are piled up downstairs as I create index card dividers for them. I have the CDs sorted by artist, year, and title in an Excel spreadsheet, as well.

3. Fonts. I have thousands of commercial and registered shareware fonts. I have been sorting them by category off and on for over a year, removing the ones I'd never use from my computer systems (keeping backups). Why so slow? I study them as I sort the fonts. If publishers included more metadata, the sorting would be automatic. I get lost in the history of typography.

4. Classic radio shows. Old-time radio is a passion of mine. I have thousands of old shows, which I am slowly sorting. iTunes has made the process easier, but it still takes time to research shows, episodes, and other information. I try to record as much data as possible.

Organizing is an impulse, an urge. I like things in their place. I love data, too. As a result, I end up taking days, months, and even years organizing. Knowing things are not organized causes stress, yet I never seem to finish organizing the various bits and bytes in my life.

I start organizing one collection and get distracted by another. I really want to finish, yet can't seem to follow through from start to finish.

It's hard to know what to sort when I am not working; I end up frozen at times, unable to sort anything. It is frustrating when I can't focus and organize, which leads to more stress and more frustration. The overwhelming sense of disappointment in myself, for my lack of focus… a lousy cycle.

My writing suffers the same problem. I start projects only to get distracted by other projects. That's why I need calendars and lists. Organization is something I crave, and something I never seem to master. You would think I'd at least finish organizing physical things when I can't organize the thoughts in my head.

At least I have been finishing some writing projects. Now I need to follow-through with submitting the manuscripts to agents and publishers. Yes, I created a submission database, too. That means organizing a database of people and companies.

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