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Sep 8 2004

A Clean Slate

Ever since college I’ve missed that feeling I had during early autumn. It’s a feeling of renewal. A turning point. Like you’ve taken everything that’s been piling up on your desk and thrown it in the trash. A feeling of starting over. For the first time in a while for me, that feeling is approaching.

My new job will start on Monday causing a gap in my task list. For one complete weekend, my professional ‘to-do list’ will be blank. Nothing to think about. Nothing to figure out. No problems to solve. Absolutely nothing expected come Monday.

Now that I’ll be working at a University, I have an inclination that that feeling will come a little easier. But I realize that as long as I am continually employed, there will probably ever come a time where every project is done, and there are many more exciting projects to start. That said, I think it’s important, to generate that feeling for yourself, and for those in management positions to encourage that feeling amongst their staff.

For the employee, set attainable short-term goals and take pleasure in crossing them off your list. It’s hard for me to ignore the fact that I have 12 other things to finish as soon as I’m done with what I’m working on. But when the emotional weight of your tasks pile up, even the simplest project can seem overwhelming. In my experience, breaking up your responsibilities into bite-sized goals makes them seem easier and go by quicker.

For the employer, take time to reward your staff for completed tasks, and don’t feel the need to point out what else needs to be done. At least not right away. If a company goal is met with no positive feedback, the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel gets dimmer and dimmer. Celebrating accomplishments can go a long way to building company morale.

For me, a clean slate gives me time to work on a more drastic redesign (yes, again), lets me collect my thoughts, and focus on the things I most enjoy. It’s a chance to start over, reorganize, and recommit. But most of all, it’s a chance to relax.