Cluttered items might lose their potential value because they can’t be properly used. Unorganized clutter caused a folding table in my office, “Zeal,” to lose its value as a temporary desk. A future phase of this office renovation project requires that table’s old space, and since one early idea I had for Better Zombie was to invite collaborators to jam on works such as artists to create short stories, now, Zeal has that collaboration space!
I’m tentatively turning this weekly column into a casual Project Management case study. I addressed a major dependency preventing me from adding in the first of five shelving units.
1. Defining the Clutter
The room I’m turning into Zeal used to just be storage. Since I hadn’t planned out how I’d store that stuff, the room was a nearly unusable mess until about six months ago, when I installed five bookshelves to begin restoring order. The workflow I detailed in “Incoming, Processing, Outbound” is working well. I’m refining that process by: addressing my cluttered CD collection, sorting through mail, and paperwork that might otherwise get lost in clutter.
2. Folding Table Focus
Incremental changes work best for me. I lose stuff if I change too much at once. The folding table was the easiest item to address that would provide the most value. The problem was that I’d already filed away the easiest things to sort, so what was left was just an assortment of random things. My solution was to move the small stuff into shelving space and the big stuff on the floor. Not ideal.
3. Identifying Future Phases
That future “phase” (I’m rusty on project management terminology) I mentioned in the introductory paragraph is adding five additional bookshelves to the other side of the room. This will allow Zeal to become a functional storage area, in addition to the office space where I can write in a focused environment. Clutter is still preventing me from building these bookshelves, so it’ll be a reorganizing dance over the next few weeks to build all five.
4. Prepping Collaboration Station
Freeing up the folding table also freed up that early idea I had for turning Better Zombie into a collaborative website. I’m still refining my desk arrangements that I wrote about in “The Ideal Office,” which probably inspired me to consider making a collaboration station. I had one gig where I worked on a computer sitting on a folding table for months, and the space doesn’t allow for a permanent desk, so this could work.
5. Enabling Collaborative Ideas
I learned within the first few months of starting Better Zombie that I wouldn’t receive any results from just openly inviting people to submit their content. Even now that I’m seeing visitors via WordPress, Better Zombie is still not popular enough to have independent collaborators. Inviting collaborators over to work on casual projects like short stories might be the next step toward that. At least building up this site has helped hone my writing skills!
I also started a Gantt chart.