February 18, 2013

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With my backups done, and master list in hand it was time for me to take a hard look at why I let my computer get so messy in the first place. This was difficult to answer, and there really isn't one correct answer, but I think it's important to at least try to understand where we've failed so we can learn from it and try to do better going forward. That famous quote about insanity comes to mind.

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.”
- Narcotics Anonymous

I can't really say how long this part of the process takes, I think it's something we should evaluate regularly, since our computer usage will vary from time to time, so the way we organize it should be modified from time to time. I managed to whittle it down to these top 3 problem areas:

I'm a pack rat

It's difficult to throw things away.There is always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it could be useful to me someday. After living in a few very small spaces I have developed a system for trying to keep that pack ratitude in check. If I bring something new into the house, I think about the space it will occupy and do my best to make sure it will have it's own home, or will replace something else. If you ask +Jordan, the minimalist, I don't always succeed at this, but I try to stay mindful that new things will take up some amount of space. This applies to clothes, appliances, tech toys... so why haven't I applied this rule to my computer yet?

No clear goal of what I wanted my computer to be

For almost 7 years my computer was almost entirely a tool I used for work. I kept it organized and regularly cleaned out the junk. When I made the switch from self employment to cube dwelling my computer's role in my life changed drastically, it was no longer just a tool. Also, the landscape of the Internet has changed a lot over the past few years, and my computer is now my main communication hub, media/entertainment box AND still a work tool. I need to keep this in mind when I organize it.


I'm not proud to admit this, but it's true. Like a lot of people these days, I spend at least 8 hours a day using a computer for work. When I use my home computer I just don't want to bother with having to organize files, or uninstall some crappy old software, it just feels too much like work. Sometimes, I just want to relax and download a game demo, or listen to a few podcasts or download some family photos. I should make an effort to be mindful of where these files get saved when I download them so I can avoid a lot of clutter down the road. When I backed up my personal files, my downloads folder was by far the largest directory and after reviewing it there was almost nothing in there I needed.

You may find that you share similar issues, or perhaps we have no issues in common, the important thing is to understand what the computer's main uses will be, and to try and identify how you (or others) will use it. Now that I've identified my major problem areas, I can get to work outlining my action plan, which I will cover in my next post. 



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