Clean Breaks

One thing that I've learned about myself is that having clean breaks from things takes discipline. My family tends to be the ones that tries to help out as much as possible. My mom did Sunday School, my dad did Cub Scouts (Weblos); we tend to be the folks that will try to pick up where things aren't getting done. Many times I was helping my family break down folding tables and chairs from events. So I know my tendency to hang around and want to help out as much as possible.

This manifests itself in a lot of conversations about previous work. When I was laid off from Morpace it resulted in at least one tepid phone call about a system I maintained (in part because the layoff was sudden and there was no exit plan in place. I literally showed up for work that morning and was told "we'll pack up your desk" before noon. Even better, my Contigo coffee mug still had coffee in it, so when it was packed up in my box-o-shit it was at the bottom, still with coffee in it. Contigo: accept no substitutes).

Whenever I've had a choice about when I leave a job I try to document as much as possible and leave things better than when I found it. That's just my nature. I also try to tidy up after myself and delete any access that I no longer need. The reason is two-fold: I want to keep the number of accounts that need access to the bare minimum, and I want to ensure that if someone accesses my machine they get as few jumping-off points as possible. It also allows me to tidy things up and concentrate on the next thing ahead of me. I do this on my desk and in my work-flow. I like clean breaks between projects. My desk and desktop is clean in-between projects. I don't like clutter overlapping things that don't need to overlap. Sometimes there's piles if I don't have somewhere to put things but those piles are short-lived.

This is also a bit of self-preservation. I know how I'm wired. I'll want to help as much as possible. I need to cordon off those impulses as much as possible, or I'll drag things along as much as possible. I have a hard time letting go, so I need to make the distinction as razor-sharp as I possibly can.

This is also part of my decluttering practice. I shredded a bunch of journals recently that were over five years old. I haven't looked at them in that time. They're dead weight at this point. And as far as I know that code didn't survive the various mergers and turnovers that happened since I was laid off. Hopefully new stewards rose to the challenge. Otherwise, the knowledge is now sitting in in a shredder bag.

On the plus side, I know how to rip apart a Moleskine journal so if you need some tips hit me up.

Having clean breaks means less stuff to maintain. And right now the less stuff floating around in my head the better I can concentrate on what lies ahead.