Sunday, October 14, 2012

Work Habits -- Picking Up and Putting Away

[That's not a picture of my place. I just threw that picture in for effect.]

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It never ceases to amaze me -- the number and variety of tools, parts bins, adhesives, solvents, lubricants, what-have-you that get brought to bear on the seemingly simplest, tiniest of projects. Every time I tackle anything, by the time I'm done with it, I seem to have put to use eighty percent of my workshop's resources in one way or another.

There's no escaping that, and it can result in mind-boggling workbench clutter if you let it. Now, I know there are those who can cope with frightful clutter, and keep on working in the midst of it efficiently and effectively,  but I'm not one of them; workbench clutter eventually causes my brain to seize up. I reach a point where all I'm aware of is the clutter, and I can no longer function. I have to take a time-out to pick up and put away everything before I can carry on with the project at hand.

I long ago decided that the best way for me deal with clutter was to nip it in the bud, minute-by-minute if need be. What I do is I constantly review what it is that I actually need to have right at hand on the workbench. If I tap a 6-32 thread, as soon as it's done I ask myself, "Any more of those to be done on this?" If the answer is 'no', the tap and the tap wrench go directly back to where they belong; I don't leave them to loiter on the bench. I apply that little test to everything as I go along.

I find that there's really no down side to that practice. Once I'm done with a session of whatever, the 'picking up and putting away' left to be done is near zero; things don't get misplaced -- they're always back where they ought to be, and the bench is cleared and ready for the next session, whatever that may consist of.

Anyway, as I said earlier, I know there are those for whom what I've just been on about is not a concern at all -- they can happily work away amidst clutter that would have me running for the exit. But if you're one for whom clutter is an irritant, there's an easy way to keep it at bay -- just make it a habit to nip it in the bud as you proceed with whatever you're doing.

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