The office project

My office is a mess. It started out organized, somewhat, but is just out of control. Dakota (my dog) just walks over the mounds of disorganized papers on the floor.

Slowly, though, I am reclaiming it, piece by piece. The cheap perfectionist in me is no longer going to keep me from making this a functional, useful, and attractive part of my home.

To start with, I got a little creative with furniture setup. I removed the hutch from my desk and set it on the floor beside me, where it serves as additional storage space without cramping my work space. I turned a small, inexpensive nightstand on its side and set my file boxes on top. Someday, I’d love to buy a nice, wide desk, with plenty of workspace, a matching file cabinet, and matching shelves. But I’m sick of this room looking like this until I get to that point.

I started processing the piles of just stuff on the floor, forcing myself to decide what to do with each item when I picked it up. (Thank you, David Allen.)

The biggest help was appropriating several as-yet-unopened photo storage boxes for miscellaneous storage. One is labeled Miscellaneous Parts, and contains the bits and pieces that come with various purchases, items you don’t want to throw away but aren’t totally sure you will actually use. Each item is stored in a Ziploc bag labeled appropriately. I also created a similar box, called Project Parts, for craft and decorating projects that are in process. All supplies are now grouped together and in one single location. I even stored a few extra bags in those boxes. I already know I’ll need to buy more boxes, though.

I think most of the simple storage solutions are in place – it’s just a matter of processing all the things on the floor.

Baby steps, baby steps.

No cable? Are you crazy?

I’m almost three weeks into my no-cable experiment, and it’s time for an evaluation.

The main reason to cancel it in the first place, was to force self-discipline upon me in a way that I could not seem to achieve on my own. Admittedly, I come from a family that’s really big on TV – I don’t think my dad could survive long without electricity (a 2-hour blackout left him baffled – he took a nap). But my primary problem is that I would turn on the TV for background noise, as many people do, get hooked into a show, and another, and another. And suddenly, hours later, I found I had long-surpassed any hope of a reasonable night’s sleep. This, of course, led to rushed mornings, being late to the office, and a complete lack of productivity both at home and at work.

So, I pulled the plug. And yes, there have been nights when I’ve been tempted to go hang out at my parents’ house for the evening (and nights where I’ve succumbed to said temptation). But overall, I’m happy with the results – I go to bed earlier, get up earlier and find it easier to do so, have more energy both at work and in the evenings, and am actually accomplishing things proactively, instead of in crisis mode.

Of course, I still do need to practice self-discipline (evidenced by the fact that I’m typing this at 1:30am in the morning). But removing the temptations of TV and the Internet are working well, and when I do stay up late, I’m doing productive things (like cleaning up the office that somehow exploded while I’ve been sleepwalking around these last few months).

I do plan to camp out in front of either my parents’ or friends’ TVs during the upcoming March Madness games.

Blue Like Jazz

Without a doubt, this is the best book I've read in a long time. Even apart from the fact that I haven't read a lot recently, I still walk away from this book thinking about it.

I'm not finished yet, but already I know that it's changing the way I approach faith. When I finally finish the book, and I have time to process a bit more, I'll post more details.

Not just personal finance

I feel like I should mention this, as it has been part of the reason that I haven't posted in a long time.

Though many of my first posts centered around personal finance, I really never intended personal finance to be the main subject of this blog. It just happens that when I started writing here, I was in a phase of thinking about all things money.

That time has since past (not that I still don't work to manage my money well). Not sure why - but I just felt the need for a disclaimer.