Episode #729

January 21, 2023

The first and last step of any project is cleanup.




When a project is finished the most critical step occurs immediately after admiring the completed product. That critical step is cleanup.

Pick up tools. Trash or store offal and unused materials. Sweep, wipe, vacuum and otherwise clean the workspace.

Cleanup is essential for starting the next project. I have sometimes approached my work bench with an idea and a clipboard only to find a sawdust covered surface littered with tools. It dampens my motivation for action.

There is likely some cleanup preparation required at the beginning of each project. Some tools may have landed on the work surface in the interim between projects. A surface might need to be prepared, such as cardboard taped to a bench to mask it from paint or glue.

The kitchen can present a daunting cleanup. If all the cleaning is left until after the meal is prepared, cleanup becomes a project in and of itself after the meal or worse, the next day.

I clean as I cook. While the second pan is cooking I clean the first pan. Once-used utensils are placed in the dishwasher during moments of waiting.

Other kitchen chores can be inserted while the food cooks. I wipe counters in these moments. I make coffee for the next day. Water bottles get filled. These tasks shorten the kitchen cleanup.

Most of the time when I cook, my wife is my sous-chef. When I pick up after her it makes her job easier.

My office desk is an ongoing project. As such, it always has an action stack. An action stack is a single stack of papers, manuals and documents. Items that need an action are placed on the top of the action stack. When I am willing to act, I look at the top item. If I am willing or able to act on it, I do. If I am not, I move it to the bottom of the stack. Weirdly, the most important or urgent items always float to the top of the action stack.

Aside from the action stack there are pens, a clipboard and an outbox. The clipboard is the focus of the desk. It holds my ToDo list and my random thoughts. The outbox is one of those things to do between and during projects. Items in the outbox get thrown away, shared or filed.

If I limit my desk to the clipboard, action stack and outbox, my desk is clean and efficient, with desk surface available to perform projects.

All projects begin with an idea and a plan.
A clean workspace is a blank canvas on which a project is drawn.


“Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing” by Ricki T Thues is now available on Amazon.
It is a Love story of Rick and Paula Thues and their 35 years of Skydiving.

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“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

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  1. Victor Spindler January 20, 2023
  2. Jeff+Laun January 21, 2023

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