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2009-03-03

Productivity: Cleaning Up the Workspace

At Seattle MindCamp 5.0 at the end of November, 2008, I resolved to finally upgrade my productivity support and take some ground cleaning up my workspace.  To fit with my work practices and record-keeping approaches, I started the Total Relaxed Organization on-line training, along with installation of the TROG Bar Outlook-integrating productivity tool.

One problem with a major productivity overhaul is the need to clear out all the junk and reconstitute an inviting workspace.  My workspace was in terrible shape, and I had no way to clear it all out and rebuild it.  Instead, I am involved in a steady shuffle of reorganization.   I have been slacking off about that, in the midst of other commitments, but I have made considerable progress in the heart of my office work area.

Before

After

My Workspace: 2008-12-26

Workspace Improvements: 2009-01-29 Drafting Table

Lap-Top Server.  This 1998-vintage Dell Inspiron 7000 just keeps on ticking.  It is too decrepit for lap-top usage, with a failing screen hinge and broken keys and mouse buttons. 

The machine works just fine as a local web server and Visual Source Safe repository that are used together for web site development and back-up of software projects. 

Once the table surface was cleaned up, I also upgraded the laptop from Windows XP SP1 (!) to Windows XP SP3, with all junk cleared off and regular clean backups. 

I only operate the machine directly when I need to FTP updates from the development server to the hosted web sites and when I need to backup the hosted blogs and comments onto the development server.   I am now poised to retire this machine, once I have successfully migrated the server and source-code-control functions to my Windows Home Server.

Before

After

My Workspace: 2008-12-26

Workspace Improvements: 2009-01-29 Desktop Computer

Desktop Media Center PC and Development System.  My main desktop system was on a crowded and cluttered desk.  I have reduced the clutter by having just the one in-box and a separate set of working files (not shown). 

On the left, I moved the audio control surface and my audio dock to an easily-accessible position.  My audio receiver is now a platform for the turntable I use for rescuing old vinyl records.

Although this does not provide much more open work surface, that will improve when the docked Tablet PC can be moved to the location of the Laptop Server.

Before

After

My Workspace: 2008-12-26

Workspace Improvements: 2009-01-29 Media and Network

Media Table and Network Center.  By parking the turntable atop the audio receiver, I was able to bring the scanner over beside the desk.

That freed the rest of the media table to hold my H-P MediaSmart Server (a Windows Home Server) and all of my network units: hub, wireless access point, household router, and DSL modem (on the shelf below the scanner).

This allows the network center to be all in one place and supported by a separate battery-battery backup unit connected to a properly-protected outlet. 

My Workspace: 2008-12-26The job is not done.  Although I moved the network units and confirmed operation in the new location.  Now there is much left to do with the wiring behind all of these units and along the floor.

What I have accomplished is having a smoother setup and more comfortable operation in that area where I spend most of my working days.

I have extensive electronic materials that I am now reorganizing, including a gigantic collection of incomplete Outlook tasks that I am pruning down a little at a time.  The recommended approach for any Getting Things Done or TRO cleanup is to simply trash that material.  Those are also records and research materials for me and I am going to retire them cleanly, as painful as that can be.

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