Paperclips and Panic

I  think of myself as open, flexible, quick to accept change.   The realization that I’m not always shocks me.  I’ve blogged on this before but it keeps happening.

The most recent example:   I had to fill out an insurance claim which consisted of several pages of information, a few documents to prove the claim,  and a dozen forms.      The instrucitons stated:  Do not use highlighter, staples or paperclips.”  Until that moment, I didn’t realize I was addicted to paperclips.   Oh, when I was teaching, I used clips to hold papers together and, as a writer, I clip chapters together but I hadn’t realized I couldn’t NOT clip  documents together, that not doing so left me anxious.   I couldn’t breathe.  My hands shook.  I’m also compulsive about following directions so it made me even more anxious to ignore the instructions and clip the papers together.  What to do?

After great agony and long consideration, I came up with a plan.  I organized the pages in the order listed on the instructions, wrote on the top exactly what the form was because  most of the forms were identified only as CLAIM FORM.  Then I numbered them all.  On the documents with more than one page, I labeled them with  A, B, C.   All this means that I had one section entitled, “Cancellation  5A.”

And I feel so much better.  I didn’t use staples or paperclips (okay, I DID highlight one thing), and followed directions.  Victory!


What makes you anxious that you know is silly?



4 thoughts on “Paperclips and Panic

  1. The large round plastic containers that hold large and medium sized plastic coated paper clips are so useful when empty. There are three of them on my desk holding a variety of office stuff. I have a strange compulsion – paper clips are for work in progress, staples are for finished (or almost or believed to be finished) work, and the very large metal clips are for chapters of 15-25 pages each. If I have time to file major works, the finished chapters or monographs or articles go in front and the source material files go after that, with lose photos or maps in back. Sounds organized? Then why does my office look like a hurricane just came through?

    1. It does sound very organized. It also sounds as if you, too, have a problem about NOT clipping or stapling stuff together. I would NEVER mention what your office looks like, except to you and Alison.

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