Urgent, but totally unimportant

August 14, 2010

I’m leaving for several days on a trip–Attention, burglars, there is an alarm system and toxic waste in the house–and I am in a panic about my online life.

I actually checked out my various blog/networking sites, took a last look at my ever-so-important FaceBook friends and made sure there were no incredible new job offers on LinkedIn before I leave. After all, who could ever leave home while FaceBook friends were waiting for a reply.

Thankfully, all is quiet on the home front, which is what all the cognoscenti call the World Wide Weboblogosphere. None of the news I missed while out of town last week was all that important and it will most likely turn ou…….

Wait a minute.

Every time I take a flight and bring aboard two months of reading that piled up and seemed terribly urgent, I read through about 8,000 pages and recognize that it wasn’t urgent at all. And every time I return from a trip and start going back to “older posts” and older and older, it’s the same thing. In fact, I cannot remember the last time, or any time, that I scrolled through a million social networking posts and found something I really truly needed to know.

Perhaps, just maybe, possibly, this is one of those things that seems to be terribly important, urgent, even life-changing, but ultimately isn’t. Maybe I can survive without checking in on FaceBook and LinkedIn and all the other social networks that define my Socialite existence.

Maybe it’s safe to take an old fashioned vacation, after all. Wish me luck. It’s been a long, long time.

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Excess Baggage

August 5, 2010

I picked up a new project recently, which means I had to clear the decks, and the desk, to accommodate the work flow. I was overdue for a cleanup, as the office was looking like Max’s room in Where the Wild Things Are and the floor was beginning to sag into the basement. Just a bit.

Time to toss all that material about executive relocation and technology consulting, the remnants of the magazine publishing assignment and the memo about office equipment leasing. Five-year-old directories, month-old magazines, expired coupons from Office Depot….gone gone and gone.

Clearing out the detritus requires more than a day. One garbage can is already full, but there are still too many piles to consider the job done. I’m going through all the old magazines and newspaper clippings and letters/emails that seemed important at the time. I saved them until I could give them all the attention they deserved. Now, though, I read through them and realize I’ve merely delayed the recycling truck’s pickup.

The job must be completed before I can move forward. I can’t find space or time for the new assignments until I get rid of the old stuff that’s cluttering up my workspace.

It’s no different from the rest of life, of course. It’s tough, sometimes impossible, to move forward until we get rid of the junk that’s making a mess of our lives today. We can’t launch a new journey with the same old baggage.

Sometimes, the mess that holds us back is absolutely obvious. Sometimes, it’s invisible. Visible or not, though, we can count on it to be long-tenured and much less important than we assumed it to be. Once we look at the materials we’ve been saving, the anchor chains of our life, we find they aren’t as meaningful, or critical, or valuable, as they seemed when we decided to hold on to them.

What do I need to clear off my desk, or from my mind, to accelerate my progress? How do I take a fresh look at the keepsakes that turn out to be monkey’s paws rather than rabbit’s feet?

Every so often, it’s important to reboot.

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