The Rezooming Mess: When Your Office Looks Like A War Zone.

office clutterIn the big scheme of things, I confess my rezooming office is a mess. I know where everything is. Yet my family walks by and scratches their collective head. This past January, I addressed the piles of paper in need of filing. I emptied out my office completely, putting everything in like/kind piles on my dining room table. I knew the organizational process would take time but clearly I would be done before I needed to use the table again.

I hired a professional organizer and she is awesome. She cheers me on each week as I get my paper piles down to a more manageable size. I locate things on paper that I already have on my laptop and place the electronic version in a virtual file. I feel empowered on so many levels. I now understand how to make a file, place documents of like/kind in the file, access what’s in that new file in preview and then file that file in a bigger like/kind file.

Yet, I have to confess my office is still a mess according to those in the know (the organizer, my husband and my sons). My problem is, I see possibilities in every article I read so I save it. I still like paper too. I collect great articles I can share on this blog for Solo Practice University® or the four other blogs I write for each month. The good news I am sharing here is that I may have found a free pass from feeling bad about the mess. And since I know some of my rezooming friends may be in a similar mess dilemma, I wanted to share my free pass to those who have messes.

Kristin Van Ogtrop, editor of Real Simple Magazine, recounted in her Editor’s Note in October what it was like growing up with her organized sister Valerie. Valerie was/is a control freak and attacks problems “in a methodical fashion.” Kristin on the other hand, gets distracted and the oooo shiny syndrome pulls her off task frequently. She labeled herself a “6.5” out of a possible10 on an organizational scale. How many of you are raising your hands and saying, yes I lived with or currently live with Valerie? Yes I am distractable early and often? I think it is one of the key components of a rezooming attorney. We have to be willing to take on the challenge before we are fully focused or prepared; before we are neat so to speak.

Kristin recently decided to come to terms with her inability to stay focused, finish everything she started in a timely manner and be neat. Keeping score and the self-esteem threat it posed all her life, was reframed. She now understands she is capable of following through and finding great ideas from two or three things that cross her desk. She doesn’t need to do it all or be clutter free. To her relief a simple study she found on her messy desk gave her the courage to let perfection go, relax and embrace her mess. The article was published in the New York Times What A Messy Desk Says About You.

This article set forth the findings of a University of Minnesota study that, “people who worked in messy offices generate ideas that were rated as significantly more creative than ideas conceived in neat offices.” The study went on to find “[d]isorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.” This is right up the new rezoomers alley. It explains why some of us need a little mess in our lives. We are creating something new or getting back into the law, which needs this kind of inspiration to help us break out of the traditional norms of staying small.

We choose to rezoom the practice of law from many different places in our lives. In where we find ourselves we might be a slight mess or a hot mess. The University of Minnesota study confirms that it doesn’t matter. We will generate great ideas that enable us to rezoom right from where we are. Mess be damned. We do not need to be organized or clutter free before we step back into the fast lane. Like Kristen, if we find two or three great ideas from the experiences we have had while embarking on our rezoom that is enough to sustain us.

My office is more organized and my dining room table is clear in time for Thanksgiving. I trust that the things I have left in the mess are things I need to focus on. They are the ones that enable me to navigate my new rezoomed career free from tradition and with imagination. I have to trust myself and know that what I am doing right now is just right. Now get out there, mess and all, and rezoom.

All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.

This entry was posted in Guest Bloggers, Solo & Small Firm Practice, Subjective Opinions and tagged Debra Hamilton, Kristin Van Ogtrop, Real Simple Magazine. Bookmark the permalink.

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