This post is the first in an ongoing (but not necessarily weekly) Thursday feature where I share examples from my life on how I specifically apply productivity, simplification and organizational principles in my life.
This week saw me moving cubes for the 15th time in 4.5 years (twice in the past three weeks). I can complete this task in about an hour, including packing all personal items, hooking up the equipment, and setting all my stuff in its places again. A coworker commented that it was like Mary Poppins had opened up her carpet bag and everything flew into place.
Ground Rules for Moving Quickly
There are a few basic rules I observe to make this process happen quickly.
- Limit the stuff. Too much stuff is an encumbrance.
- Ask for help. There is too much for me to lift comfortably, so I ask others to do it.
- Use the tools available. We have a rolling table we can use to transport things, but if this is not available, I will use my desk chair to cut down on trips.
The first area of moving is packing. I take all of my desktop items and books and fit them into empty space in my desk drawers. This requires a bit of planning: I cannot accumulate either desk stuff or files beyond a certain level. It is good, though, because it forces me to keep a lid on what I have at the office.
Some things fit into others. My plastic frog collection (given to me by my daughter) fits into the photo stand drawers, which fits into the file drawer along with my technical books. The pencil cup goes on its side in the top drawer, along with the stuffed cow (a gift from my mother). The single framed picture on my desk is put into one of the hanging files for cushioning with the mouse pad against its front to keep scratches at bay.
Once the desktop is cleared into the drawers, I pull down the bulletin board (hung by bent wire and easy to move) and put my IKEA file box and calendar on top.
Once that is done, I have only four piles: my two plants, my bulletin board, my drawers and my equipment.
Preparing the Destination
The desks around here don’t get cleaned that often, so I will next visit my new cube and wipe down the shelf and desktop. I will generally move the plants at this time simply because they need to be carried by hand. I then remove the drawers from the desk and take them to my old cube.
Making a Fast Move
The next trip to the new cube takes all my personal stuff. The three drawers stack with the bulletin board on top. If I have to, I can transport this on my desk chair, but lately I have used the wheeled tables that are around the office. Once in the new cube, I put the drawers in place and go back for the equipment.
With two monitors, a CPU, a surge protector/battery backup and a VOIP phone, I have a lot of equipment to move. There are also a lot of cords: four power cords, three network cables, two monitor-to-USB cables, monitor plugs and more. I take the very simple approach of unplugging everything from everywhere.
At this point I will draft one of the young consultants to lift and move the computer equipment. (After spraining my back lifting a computer about 10 years ago, I will never go through that again.) Another table trip, and the computer equipment is in place.
Quick Equipment Setup
Here’s the secret to managing all my cables: all of my cords are bundled together using a plastic tubing slit lengthwise. so once everything is unplugged, I can move the cables as a set. Once the computer equipment is in place, I take my bundles of cords and hook them up from the desktop down to the CPU. Then a couple more plugs, and everything is ready to go.
The Finishing Touches
Next I will unpack the drawers. The books go on the shelf, followed by the cow. The photo stand comes out and the frogs are liberated. The pencil cup, picture and mouse pad are next, and everything is done.
Moving cubes is still a major annoyance. But I find that with my cube-moving methods, I am settled into the new location in about an hour.
Photo by EOB on Flickr – Photo Sharing!