Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Staying on Top of Things

By Man Martin

People ask me all the time how I manage to get so much done.  It's simple, I reply; you have to have a rigid system and stick to it like velcro, once you've got that, everything else comes easy.
My system involves leaving everything lying around in the open wherever I happen to drop it.  This takes iron self-discipline and not everyone can do it.  My wife, for example, is constantly giving into the temptation to file things, to tidy up.  Moreover, as much as I hate to castigate her in a public forum, she often tries tempting me to do the same.  "Why the hell don't you straighten up your damn desk once in a while?" is how she phrases these temptations, but as alluring as her offers are, I resist.  Just say no is my motto.
If you ask her about her little habit, she'll say she can take it or leave it alone, but the truth is she's a compulsive tidier.  She can't help herself.  I've given up trying to reform her, but I refuse to be her enabler.
My system offers several obvious advantages.  To start with, all the time saved on filing and tidying can be put to use drinking writing.  Moreover, after a long day of drinking writing, when my head falls to the desk in a stupor exhaustion, all the piles of papers and unpaid bills make a nice fluffy pillow to land on.
Best of all, no matter where I look, I'm bound to find some critical piece of something I thought I'd mislaid.  Often, when coming-to after my mid-afternoon siesta, I find a much-needed piece of paper stuck to my forehead.  And bill collectors are a good deal less demanding when they know their "please remit" statements have been drooled over, I can tell you.
Again, consistency is the essence of the system.  I cannot stress this enough.  Once you put the first thing away, you've had it.  "Oh, it won't matter if I file this one little thing," people tell themselves, or "Maybe I should throw away some of this useless crap just once.  What could it hurt?"  But that path leads to madness.  Better just to leave things where God and gravity demand.  If you have a system, as I do, don't vary it, not in the slightest.  It's like with martinis: first mix the gin and vermouth together in a shaker, then drink it.  You might think it would work just as well to drink a shot of each then jump up and down, but that'll just give you a headache.  It's the same way with filing.
And who needs that headache?

Man Martin is the author of Paradise Dogs, which The New York Post calls "required reading" and Booklist says is "simply brilliant."  Now you can win your own autographed copy by visting http://manmartin.blogspot.com and entering the STOOPID Contest.


Anonymous said...

Hilarious. And amazing. We seem to have the exact same system for accomplishing great things. Could it be we've found the 8th or 9th habit of highly effective people?

Skipperhammond@gmail.com said...

So much fun reading this. But tell me--ice cubes in the shaker first or vermouth and gin? Sometimes I'm really inconsistent and just scramble it all up in the glass and drink fast before the ice melts. Like paying the bill before it gets lost in the debris.

Gabrielle said...

For my part every person must go through this.