My Challenge to Change Revisited

November 21, 2017 - 3 minutes read

Two weeks ago my blog began with a joke, and ended with a challenge.

The joke:

How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

Only one.  But the light bulb has to want to change.

The challenge:

I gave myself two weeks, until November 21, 2017, to neaten up my workspace.

My report today, November 21, 2017, will begin with a joke.

How many psychiatrists does it take to neaten up my workspace?

None.  I hired someone else to do the job.

As for the challenge, I’m happy and relieved to report success.  See the photo of my desk that I took yesterday.

I knew I was too attached to all of the loose papers and folders cluttering my desk, even those I haven’t looked at for years, and since I’m not very good at organizing physical things I hired my friend Jeanne to do the job.  Over the years Jeanne has successfully organized my books and papers at home, and last week she did a great job organizing my desk.

My personal reaction to my neat desk is:

  1. I think I’m walking into the wrong office.
  2. I’m afraid I will not be able to find something I need. But for the past week I have found everything I need.
  3. I’m concerned that Jeanne has set a standard I will not be able to maintain, and that my desk will soon be a mess again. But that hasn’t happened yet.
  4. After more than fifty years in business, I’m still learning to delegate assignments — those I either don’t like to do or those I’m not good at. Next time I won’t wait twenty years to ask Jeanne to take over for me.
  5. I feel a sense of freedom, and it’s now easier for me to focus on the task at hand.

So the challenge I gave myself worked – especially because I made it public.  One colleague whom I’ve worked with for more than thirty years mentioned that she will be stopping by my office today to inspect my desk for herself.  I hope she will be pleased.

Just for fun, if you have any kind of clutter that you’d like to neaten up, send me a photo and I’ll post it.  I will not reveal names – just photos.  It would be interesting to see what kinds of physical chaos other people face in their lives.

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving, and in the words of my mother, “Finish everything on your plate.”

Of course, after years of practice, cleaning everything off my plate, if not my desk, is something I’m pretty good at.



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