It takes Gumption to start anew with a blank slate. But every once in a while, it’s necessary to start over.
I recently had a breakthrough in wiping the slate clean and starting over with a blank slate. The slate was my office.
Five years ago I moved from town to my country home. At that time, I set up a new home office.
To back up one step further, I had moved to Montana three years earlier. Simultaneous to that move in 2007, I was in the embryonic stages of my speaking business. I was also heading into the final chapter of my 15-year career as Forrest with the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company. So those first three years, my new office in town was set up without a clear understanding of my business focus. I was in transition. I was a work in progress.
In 2010, the move to my country home allowed me to set up my office with a bit more clarity than I had when I set up the office in town three years earlier. It was a step forward.
But what occurred over the next few years was impossible to foresee and occurred without me ever realizing:
- I was heavy into doing research, learning, and collecting possibilities for my speaking business
- My initial efforts back in 2008-09 – while pretty good – missed the mark
- My new office in 2010 was organized based on those initial efforts of ’08-’09.
The result was my office during the past five years collected many, many pieces of information. All part of my journey of learning. But these pieces of information were collected with only the belief that they were important, the how and where they fit into a grand vision was unknown.
The result was my office was a mess. I had piles of papers and information stacked and sorted into piles. Some of them were old projects that were now completed. Some were research projects that were no longer relevant to my current and future focus. Some of them were research projects that had mostly been implemented … but still contained important nuggets that I wasn’t quite ready to let go.
In May of this year, I reached a breaking point. I realized that I couldn’t stand it any longer. It was time to wipe the slate clean. It was time to get organized.
It started with my computer desktop. A new system of folders was created to store everything relevant to my business. I managed to consolidate everything into about a dozen main categories.
With my electronic files organized, I was then able to see a way to organize my physical files using a similar structure.
Long story short, it wasn’t until the end of October that my office clean-up project was complete. Everything was either thrown away or filed in one of nine file drawers. Most of those drawers was also reorganized and dramatically thinned. My shredder was in overdrive. The video shows the results.
So how did I do it?
- I decided that it had to be done. I committed.
- I set a goal to spend 20-minutes each day on the project. I started chipping away.
- There were days (and even weeks) that I didn’t make any progress. I didn’t give up. I kept rolling over my simple goal of spending a small amount of time each day. I persisted.
- When I did attack the project regularly, I would occasionally have breakthrough moments that generated huge steps forward. I couldn’t predict which days would produce big results and which days would feel like nothing happened. I occasionally had breakthrough moments.
- I finally set a deadline of the end of October as I was getting close. I made it with one day to spare. I spent five-plus hours that last day willing (or forcing) myself to complete the job. I gave myself a deadline.
Here’s what has happened since then. I’ve started thinking of new projects. My creativity has soared.
It’s amazing what happens when you wipe the slate clean and find yourself staring a blank slate.
What part of your life needs to be wiped clean?