Decluttering


Since I got back to work after summer break, I started an experiment of sorts:

  • Limited my morning news reading to around 100 items (of any description)
  • No work brought home1
  • No “normal” computers on after 10PM (the iPad is OK)
  • At least half an hour of book reading every night
  • No carting the laptop or iPad to the office on Fridays (so that I have to sit at my desktop to clear my inbox and make do with my iPhone otherwise)

So far, it’s been interesting - largely because they’re all impossible to stick to when you have an insatiable curiosity, kids and a demanding job.

But I’m happy to reach, say, three out of five, and the peace of mind that comes with letting go of work concerns and focusing on real life stuff (such as the kids themselves) has proven to be invaluable, as well as a running incentive to keep trying for a perfect score.

There is, however, a degree of frustration involved in not being able to follow up on stuff immediately (whether it’s that niggling bug you couldn’t fix at the office or someone’s email), but there’s a trade-off in getting better insights, having a clearer head and, overall, having a bit more control of my time.

Still, being the quintessential control freak that I am, I find it hard to take time for myself - and yet, it always feels like I’m running forever behind, even where fun and games are concerned.

And yeah, it’s frustrating (and a tad demotivating) when some of the stuff I’m involved in moves so slowly - my instincts cry out for doing stuff like diving in to the code myself, ripping it out and crafting it again, arguing about Marketing and product development strategy when things end up in no man’s land, bashing a few heads together to get things done sooner, or (and this is the bit I find the hardest not to do) mulling things overnight.

All of which are crass, unforgivable mistakes when you manage people and you need to keep a cool, unbiased and uncluttered head - there comes a time when you just have to step back and avoid meddling too much, especially if you have too many things on your plate - you’ll end up paying too much attention to the wrong things, and if the usual delegating and managing doesn’t solve what’s wrong, then you just have to do it more… creatively.

Or so I tell myself.


  1. None that implies ruining my evenings, given the little time left after dining and bedding the little savages. ↩︎