My New Office 2008

I previously wrote a post titled, My New Office 2007, in which I showed you a photo of what my home office looked like in January 2007. Here’s quick reminder:

My office in  January 2007

Although a bit messy, that layout served me quite well, but things got even more busy when I added an extra desk and a second monitor. Not only was I running out of space, but I couldn’t reach the dead cockroaches and centipedes that were falling behind the furniture after a quick blast of Gokki Jet Pro.

The time had come to apply the 80-20 rule.

What’s the 80-20 rule?

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, Haddad’s Theorem, the law of the vital few and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Business management thinker Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed that 80% of income in Italy went to 20% of the population. It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., “80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients.” Source: Wikipedia

In this case, I decided to throw out 80% of the things I use just 20% of the time, and keep the 20% of things I use 80% of the time. Here are the results:

Another picture of my office in June 2008

My office in June 2008

Okay, so maybe I didn’t quite reach 80%, but I did a good job, particularly clearing out the closets. In the end, I hauled two car loads of stuff, mostly old books, CDs and shelving, to the massive Kakamigahara incinerator where I said goodbye to a huge chunk of my past.

Now that my office has been detoxified, I feel refreshed and more productive than ever! So how about it? Have I convinced you to do the same?

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

17 thoughts on “My New Office 2008

  1. Good work Nick! Yeah I don’t like accumulating old and useless junk although at the same time I find that I have a hard time throwing it out. Having said that I do feel like I breathe a bit better when I do!

    A couple of years when I moved in to my place I had bought lots of new things and so after unpacking them my basement was full of empty boxes. When I got rid of all of them last year it was so nice and I felt like my home was so much bigger! Things are building up again and so will have to do some more spring cleaning!

    1. Likewise, good job.
      While my desk is nowhere near as clean as yours, I have cut it back down to “stuff I need” rather than “stuff I think I need”. The same as my blog.

      ProjectWonderful is about to be taken off, and I’m blowing the remaining credit on a very broad ad campaign.

      BTW when is your blog going to come out of skinny mode? Or does this too count towards the 80 / 20 rule somehow?

      1. Good luck with your project. You think this is skinny? There was a short time earlier this year when I didn’t even have a sidebar at all! I’ll probably give it another overhaul before the end of the year, and maybe bring back all the JapanSoc feed stuff.

  2. That’s looking great Nick! Very professional looking

    I like to move things around now and again to keep the area fresh and it makes me notice things I just don’t use. So I just recently moved all my DVDs into their own space and put all my Japanese books in easy reach. I found a few DVDs still in their wrapper… so I’ve stopped buying DVDs and started renting again. Saves space and money!

    It definitely feels good to have a clean, organised working area! I wish I could stop myself leaving things all over my desk…

    1. Throwing out all my CDs was hard. I’ve copied them all onto my hard disk, but throwing out the originals felt almost criminal. Still, I just never used them anymore…

  3. It’s been a long time since i’ve had the joy of visiting an incinerator ….. was a favourite past time of the old mans on a Sunday in Australia ….. nothing like a good burn off.

    1. Absolutely. A second monitor was possibly the best purchasing decision I’ve ever made! I usually devote a whole screen to the web browser, and have email or FTP open in the other. It also comes in really handy when chatting online. Just leave the chat window open on one screen while you work away on the other. I can not recommend a second monitor highly enough, but make sure you’ve got a graphics card with two monitor slots or you’ll be kicking yourself! I also suggest getting a different shaped monitor. I have one widescreen (1440 x 900 pixels) which is great for programming, and a taller one (1280 x 1024 pixels) that’s more suitable for browsing the web, but that’s just me.

  4. Your office is about the same size as my entire apartment. I have to constantly do what you’ve done or I won’t be able to get out the front door.

    1. Haha, I’ve lived in six apartments in Japan, including one like yours. The crazy thing is, I live in a 5LDK house now and probably pay less each month than the rent for your one-room Tokyo apartment! Still, I do envy your big city lifestyle. 🙂

  5. I admit that your office now look so neat…But, the previous one looks more cozy. I guess that because of the carpet. Why did you remove it?

  6. Geez Nick what you did with your office is what i want to do with my life haa haa haa!!

  7. Nick. We also had to clear out a lot of your stuff when we moved, in fact there’s very little left. Congrats on your minimal look

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