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Business

I cleaned my office yesterday

I know that when I can't at least put my hand on the right pile, then it's time to at least straighten up a bit. I had a couple of other key motivators, though, for doing more than just imposing some order on my piles...We'll see if I can stay organized over the next couple of months as I get ready for kid #5 and some time out of the office in November.
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor on

I didn't really have time for it. I had plenty of actual work to do before a 4-day weekend. Being an inherently disorganized and messy person, I usually save any cleaning and organizational effort for home, where a compulsively neat wife and four (soon to be five!) kids absolutely necessitate high levels of organization. However, after a brutal first couple of weeks back with teachers and students, my office, laptop bag, and car were complete disasters.

I know that when I can't at least put my hand on the right pile, then it's time to at least straighten up a bit. I had a couple of other key motivators, though, for doing more than just imposing some order on my piles. My office is small, but since it has one of the few air conditioning units, doubles as a server room (and my wife wonders why I can't hear anything she says anymore). Since I'm adding a web server and some additional networking and backup equipment, I needed some extra room, so a more serious rearrangement was in order.

We, like most schools, are also fairly space-constrained, so my office seems to become a dumping ground for wayward computer components. I just got rid of 14 incorrectly shipped monitors and 6 old emacs. In an 8'x8' space with servers, a desk, and files, I need to create a really flexible space.

The biggest reason for forcing a more rigorous level of organization though was that 5th kid I mentioned above. Since my wife will be having a c-section, I'll be working from home with only occasional visits to the office for a month or so. I may be able to put my hand on the right pile, but secretaries and my techs probably couldn't. So I actually made files. And labeled them. And then alphabetized them.

This level of organization was anathema to my personality and learning style (I'm about as much of a Myers-Briggs ENTP as you can get), but the concept of "what happens if I get hit by a bus" (or, more happily, "what happens if I'm unavailable because my wife is giving birth") is an important one. Our work needs to be as transparent as possible and sometimes that means getting organized, even when it's painful. We'll see if I can stay organized over the next couple of months as I get ready for kid #5 and some time out of the office. At the very least, though, I'll be taking this opportunity to make sure my hit-by-a-bus file is complete and open to those who need it.

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