When my former boss took the VP of Engineering gig, he brought a pile of personal crap into his office. There was the model airplane, a few of pieces of artwork, and a pile of books. These items were moved into his office and proceeded to sit in the corner in boxes for over a year. He finally decided to hang the airplane from the ceiling one weekend, but up until the day he was laid off, I don’t think the books were unpacked or the artwork was hung.
Each time I’d walk into his office, I’d first think, “I’m working for a guy who can’t take the time to tidy up his office.” I’d then think, “I can’t think in a cluttered office”. I’d finally think, “I’m not sure about working for a cluttered boss.”
Yes, there are times when you’ll wake in my office and there will be clutter, but know this, I know the clutter is there and I’m grinding my teeth about the clutter RIGHT THIS SECOND.
My favorite clutter removal technique is frequent office rearrangements. We’re talking about every year or so. This year’s arrangement was entitled “Fenging up the Shui” and that roughly translates into “The removal of visual noise”.
The Winter 2006 adjustment is still in progress, but the process has already yield some gems.
First off, I’ve rotated my Messy Thinking set-up 45 degrees so my back is now facing my door while the view is, hey, of my view.
Two significant wins here:
- Calming view of a nature
- Reduction of random distractions as folks walk by
The moving of my main monitors forced my server set-up to move. Now, I never use the keyboard and mouse on my server box and the screen is generally powered off. As I move it to the new location, I thought, “How can I nuke this the keyboard/mouse clutter, but use the screen real estate on my server box?”
The solution: Synergy. This application allows you to share your local keyboard/mouse with any other Mac/PC/Unix box on your network. I’d used Synergy a few months ago, but quickly grew annoyed with it when I’d move off the right of my current screen and lose my cursor to the machine on the other side of my desk. Huh? Where’d the mouse go?
Synergy allows you to configure the virtual arrangement of your monitors however you like, so in my new Feng Shui set-up, I virtually place my server box BELOW my main monitor which is a place I never go as my Dock is on the left-hand part of the screen. It’s not an obvious set-up, but it’s also not annoying.
Lastly, I needed a use for the new screen. Since the machine would just be sitting there most of the time. I thought one of these RSS screen-savers would be handy except THEY MOVE and grab my attention. I needed something informative, yet not annoying. The answer is simple. I found a set of fab widgets, organized them in a pleasing fashion, and now, I have Dashboard running on this box 24/7.
The final results looks something like this:
Ok, back to work.