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So Small You Have To Exit To Change Your Mind

January 27, 2017

Small doesn’t begin to describe it. My office is tiny. It’s almost cliche to talk about small offices. When we moved into our house, we had some work done. The contractors finished the basement and they built a pantry in the kitchen. The pantry is 32 square feet. It’s 16 feet long and two feet wide. (We had 8 kids at home, the pantry is just barely big enough.)

We also had the contractor build a small office for me in the basement. Most of the space went to kids’ bedrooms. We have eight kids and nine bedrooms. Most of the basement was devoted to bedrooms and a small family room. But, we decided that we could spare a small amount of space for an office. At 4×7 or 28 square feet, it’s smaller than our pantry. Although, fortunately it’s better proportioned.

Several things happen when you have a small office. Wall space is at a premium. I have kids art, a few pieces that my friend a professional cartoonist did, and clocks. The walls are floor to ceiling covered. But, more importantly, if your office is small, you have to very carefully choose your office furniture.

I have a rolltop desk that I love. It’s too big to go through the office door. My lovely wife just bought me an office chair. There’s not enough room between the desk and the wall to fit a chair in. And yet, my office has a rolltop desk with a new office chair.

A professor presented a class with a mason jar. Into the mason jar he dumped several large rocks.

Is the jar full?

The class agreed that it was. The professor then dumped in sand that filled the spaces between the rocks.

Is the jar full now?

The class was a little more hesitent in their answer. Next, the professor poured water into the jar, filling it to the rim.

What is the lesson we learn from this?

You can always cram more into your busy schedule?

No, but good guess. The trick is to put the large things in first.

His point was to not fill our lives with so many trivialities that we don’t have room for the big things. What are the big things in your life?

I took time off from work the last two days to deal with a family member who was in a car accident. He’s fine, but he is one of the “big things.” Were there work tasks that I could have spent that time doing? Sure. And now I have to play catch-up. I use the “20 year rule” to decide the big things. When presented with a choice, I think, “Will it matter 20 years from now?”

If my child had been seriously hurt would I care 20 years from now if I took time off to be with him? I’m pretty sure I would care. Will the tasks from yesterday be important to me 20 years from now? Of course not. The choice was easy.

Put the big things in first.

So, how did I manage to get an oversized rolltop desk into my office?

The rolltop desk breaks down into pieces. Each piece is small enough to fit through the door. I then assembled it in my office. I did the same thing yesterday when I put the desk chair in. I literally had to assemble it in place. To get it out, I will most likely have to disassemble either the desk or the chair.

Put the big things in first.

One of the world’s smallest offices.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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