When I moved recently, I learned two things. I discovered that if you have a home office, then when you move, you have to move both your home and your office. Maybe I could have figured that out some other way, but the move did create a unique opportunity. As many do, I used the move as motivation to sort through my accumulated junk and keep most of it.
That's how I discovered my personal rules for accumulating junk. To get rid of my junk, I've been violating a different rule every day, and I'm getting pretty good at it. You probably have your own rules, but if you don't know what they are, you can use this list as a starting point.
Here are my rules (plus some others) for accumulating junk:
- I might need it someday
- I can't remember why I'm saving this, but it might be important
- I think I can get rid of this, but I'm not 100% sure
- I know I'll use this eventually, when I get the time (or energy)
- I don't need this now, but if I ever do need one, it will either be expensive or impossible to find
- Violate a different rule
every day, and soon
you'll have less junkRemember when we used these? Wow — I bet you can't even get them anymore.
- Maybe I can sell this on eBay — oops, the going price is still too low.
- I borrowed this, and I should return it, but I'm so embarrassed that I've had it so long…
- I can't throw this out — maybe it isn't mine
- Hmm, I wonder where the missing parts of this are — maybe I'll find them
- I don't actually know what this is, but I'll keep it until I can figure it out
- Ah, this is that box of stuff I sealed up when I last moved, thinking I would toss it if I didn't open it in a year. Can't remember what's in it. Better not throw it out yet.
- This was a real bargain. Be a shame to get rid of it.
- If I lose X pounds, I know I look good in this
- This is a great book. I should read it. [RecycleBooks.org]
- This was a great book. Maybe I'll read it again.
- This was a great movie (album). I know I'll want to watch it (listen to it) again if I ever get another VCR (turntable).
- Who's that standing next to me in this picture? Better keep it until I can scan it.
- Ah, my first planner — maybe. You never know when you'll need an alibi for 7:30 AM, Tuesday, March 23rd, 1993.
- That computer has sensitive data on it. I better keep it until I can erase it. [GreenDisk, Tech Soup and the Computer Recycling Center]
- Look at that, the postal rates for 1987. Neat-o.
- I wonder how long I have to keep these financial records. Legally, I mean. Better keep 'em. [Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement]
- Another ballpoint pen. Might come in handy sometime.
- Wonder what's on this floppy (Zip disk, removable cartridge, mag tape)? Better keep it for now.
Throwing things away might take some practice. If violating even one of your rules is too hard, start with something easy. Pick up a dead leaf from the ground, and then throw it away immediately. Then work up from there.
Love the work but not the job? Bad boss, long commute, troubling ethical questions, hateful colleague? This ebook looks at what we can do to get more out of life at work. It helps you get moving again! Read Go For It! Sometimes It's Easier If You Run, filled with tips and techniques for putting zing into your work life. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- How We Avoid Making Decisions
- When an important item remains on our To-Do list for a long time, it's possible that we've found ways
to avoid facing it. Some of the ways we do this are so clever that we may be unaware of them. Here's
a collection of techniques we use to avoid engaging difficult problems.
- If Only I Had Known: I
- Have you ever regretted saying something that you wouldn't have said if only you had known just one
more little fact? Yeah, me too. We all have. Here are some tips for dealing with this sticky situation.
- Have a Program, Not Just an Agenda
- In the modern organization, it's common to have meetings in which some people have never met —
and some never will. For these meetings, which are often telemeetings, an agenda isn't enough. You need
- The Perils of Piecemeal Analysis: Content
- A team member proposes a solution to the latest show-stopping near-disaster. After extended discussion,
the team decides whether or not to pursue the idea. It's a costly approach, because too often it leads
us to reject unnecessarily some perfectly sound proposals, and to accept others we shouldn't have.
- Reactance and Decision-Making
- Some decisions are easy. Some are difficult. Some decisions that we think will be easy turn out to be
very, very difficult. What makes decisions difficult?
See also Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness for more related articles.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming April 8: The New Virtual Meeting: Digressions
- The bane of meetings everywhere, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has been digressions. But there are reasons to expect the incidence of digressions in meetings to increase now. What reasons could there be, and what can we do about digressions? Available here and by RSS on April 8.
- And on April 15: Incompetence: Traps and Snares
- Sometimes people judge as incompetent colleagues who are unprepared to carry out their responsibilities. Some of these "incompetents" are trapped or ensnared in incompetence, unable to acquire the ability to do their jobs. Available here and by RSS on April 15.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenmhXARWRMUvVyOdHlner@ChacxgDmtwOKrxnripPCoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- Bullet Points: Mastery or Madness?
Decision-makers in modern organizations commonly demand briefings in the form of bullet points or a series of series of bullet points. But this form of presentation has limited value for complex decisions. We need something more. We actually need to think. Briefers who combine the bullet-point format with a variety of persuasion techniques can mislead decision-makers, guiding them into making poor decisions. Read more about this program.
Here are some dates for this program:
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.