Project & Vision Wall

19 01 2010

A few months ago I was introduced to an amazing blog, New Faculty Success, a great blog for graduate students and faculty of color who are working in academia, learning the ropes of university institution and trying to balance teaching, department service, student needs, our own writing and research projects. (whew!) The author, Kerry Ann Rockquemore, has an amazing blog and weekly email called the “Monday Motivator” where she has friendly, practical and gentle support and ideas around focusing and refocusing our priorities throughout the semester and academic year. In her Oct 09 motivator, she talked about her own method for having her office space reflect her semester goals and spoke about her own organization of her work and her development of a “project wall”.

At that time, I had been thinking a lot about the spatial relationship between my own productivity in my writing and research, other projects and my workspace / meditation space, because all of these things, quite suddenly, had meshed, together. I have for a while, much like Ito – in my life and work, been feeling out of control with all of the projects I take on, my inability to say no, how that has an impact on my sometimes lack of focus.

I’ve always loved the idea of a vision wall, imagining things that I want, but as an artist, I just want to put things that inspire me to stay focused or inspire me with beauty or words that move me. But as an academic, my life is filled with deadlines, paper, books and gah! So this struggle to balance all of the work I do without going insane is a major stress in my life, and because I don’t have an office on a campus that is permanent yet, I also do a lot of work from home on my scholarly work AND my projects in the community or in the theater. Thus, my home office is a reflection of my crazy life, and somehow it always, always seems that there are multiple piles (and when I say multiple I mean piles and piles), it seems my project files never stay current, and my bill notices just pile up. (I’ve got a major addiction to paper. For some reason I have this fear of not being able to have track of my bill history and I continue to harbor a fear that technology will fail me and then I wont have a paper trail. I plan to write about this for us soon!)

A few years ago I wanted a separate room for my office, wanted the office door to be able to close, so I could be away from my work if I wanted. But I realized that, (by choice) a huge part of my life was taken up by my work and my second bedroom, was just too small for all of my office materials and project stuff. More importantly, it was constantly a mess, piles of papers, nothing could be found or was organized, and even when I hired one of my undergrads to come over and help me wade through all my crap, I still didn’t get it finished and the room was overflowing. So last year, I went for it, and I exchanged my living room and my tv / chill room because seemed the logical answer was to move into a bigger space, my open living room, so I could spread my stuff out, could be better organizes, thus be inspired to ‘get shit done’.

So its been a few months now I’ve had my workspace in the living room, and I keep finding myself constantly rearranging the space because its not working for me. there are still piles and piles still on the floor, and while I feel the “openness” that I had hoped for, my organization system still sucks.

The Goal of this office / creative space:

Four spaces:
(1)altar/ meditation space, vision wall, project planning space

(2) computer desk

(3) work desk, books, readings, some files

(4) file storage / office supplies

So far, I finally did what I wanted and started a vision wall / project wall! yay! BUT my first attempt at my project vision wall didn’t work out well. I used giant paper stickies, tacks, photo stickies, I wrote out each of my projects, future projects, deadlines, goals and my ‘how to get there” plans. (sorry no before photo here) A lot right? But somehow it ended up being nothing but a project wall, with no room for visioning and beauty. and the flexibility of it was all wrong because things were written in pen. If I had changing deadlines or changing goals, it just wasn’t functional. Additionally, it just looked messy with the big giant stickies and things written in colored pen, and I kept feeling self conscious because its so extremely personal and since I’m constantly having meetings at my house, it just wasn’t working.

So taking Kerry Ann’s idea about creating an organized project wall with my writing projects only on it, I rearranged and came up with this. My mediation/ vision wall on the left and my project wall on the right. I need a lamp but over all im totally happy with how it turned out.

You can see I am still and will be constantly in creation of the vision wall, as I want it to grow as I grow. The other photo is a moveable, changeable project wall with deadlines and projects for this semester attached to each clip.

now if I could just get the rest of the office. These are photos of the entire office with a below closeup of ONE of my piles of papers. If you look carefully, you’ll see the strategically places table and table cloth to cover up the files when company comes. and the left side… the red bookcase, yeah.. no organization there, I just picked up stuff off the floor and put it in the bookcase. It only looks cute.

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Unbelievable! It’s Contagious!!!

21 12 2009

I can’t believe it. This blog has been in existence less than a week, and already the decluttering energy is spreading throughout the country! I just got an amazing email from one of our readers, who read this blog and was immediately bitten by the declutter bug. See her incredible laundry room before and afters!!

Our friend says:

I made 3 piles to take to the garbage and 3 bags to Goodwill.  I even cleaned out the cupboards hence the Shake and Bake (expiration 2006, purchased in 2003!).  The bakers rack has been a pain since I got it and is now going to Goodwill as well.

A few things I realized in this:

I keep things that I think can be used.  I may never use them so the fact that someone may be able to makes me hold on to them.  That is why I thought of the Goodwill pile.  It does not seem like a waste.

Solution: I am going to keep a tote out and fill it up all week for Goodwill until I no longer have things to put in it. And to make sure not to have an issue drop it off once a week.

As for the good stuff I kept.  When I clean the not good stuff out of the cupboards there was room to put it properly away.  Who knew! LOL

Thanks for the motivation. I will keep going and sending you the pictures.  You really have motivated me.  I needed this so thanks so much!

Isn’t that AMAZING!?! That laundry room is incredible! GO GO GO girl (who wishes to remain anonymous) AND I invite all Clutterbrained readers to submit your photos and stories to us! Pile by pile, we will tackle this!





OMG! My first “After” Pic!!!

19 12 2009

Some wise people say, all you need to do is to set an Intention to get things moving into place. I’m finding this is so true. It was only two days ago that I started this blog. Yesterday that I met with my decluttering partner for the first time. And today, I felt a great shift inside me.

I was standing in my awfully cluttered bathroom, surrounded by a ridiculous number of containers and products. And this terribly ugly, empty, nonfunctioning stone zen fountain thing.  That I had asked for for Christmas like SEVEN years ago, because I thought it would be lovely and restful. Well, it wasn’t. The sound of the gurgling fountain sounded a lot like someone was perpetually peeing. Soon I turned it off and the water evaporated and it just became this big heavy ugly plastic bowl o’stones. BUT I could not give it away or throw it away because it had been a Gift from my Loved Ones. (does this sound familiar anybody???)

Somehow this morning, it felt like getting rid of this dumb fountain was the catalyst I needed. I picked it up and put it on the floor. And suddenly the rest of the countertop almost cleaned itself. I swear. Suddenly I realized (??!?!?) that I have about eight DRAWERS in this bathroom and a huge under the sink cabinet as well. I could even ORGANIZE my multitude of products into: makeup, hair stuff, eye stuff, medicine stuff, etc. Which took me about TEN MINUTES to do, once that dreaded fountain got out of there. Now every drawer is not in the most pristine shape, and could probably use some micro-organizing, but… STILL.

LOOOOOOOOOKK!!!!!!!!!!!