I love building. I love expansion. I love making new things, doing new things.
But that's only one side of the coin. Expansion is fantastic, but you need to consolidate your gains.
Most of the time, you can consolidate a little bit each day. Clean things up, put things away.
But when's the last time you devoted an entire day to consolidation?
I try to do it at least 3 times a month. It's fantastic.
On my time-tracking I've got a question: "What assets could I build/improve/acquire today?" But today, the only reply is - "Consolidation day."
On a consolidation day, clean everything, wash everything, max out your grooming (cut fingernails, toenails, shave, haircut if necessary), mend anything broken that you're going to mend.
Clear out your email, systematize your calendar.
A big one - if you've got something that you keep meaning to do, but haven't started yet - you need some objective measure for when you'll start it or give it up. Having "NEED TO START" notes posted all over your home is not conducive to good work environment. If a project goes three consolidation days without me starting, I usually scrap it and put it in a hold file.
If you're almost done with a book, maybe finish it on a consolidation day. If you've got a bunch of finished books you're not going to re-read and space is at a premium for you, sell/gift them on.
Clean up your computer a little. Physically clean it, but also file things appropriately. Cut down on your email. Be realistic and triage the email you're not going to answer for whatever reason.
Consolidation days aren't sexy, but having 2-4 of them per month really keeps you on track. Sometimes, if you've got a big project looming due in a couple weeks, you might not think you have time to consolidate. Actually, just the opposite is true! If you've got two weeks left and haven't been making progress, it might make a lot of sense to take a day off and clear up all those little nagging things in your life. Get your workspace and home clean, buy new groceries, throw out old groceries that have gone bad, pre-cook a bunch of food, clean up dust, do laundry, file everything, etc, etc.
A solid 5-10 hours of cleanup and clearup while listening to some music or educational programming is pretty fantastic. Your mind is clear afterwards and you're ready to build.
When was your last consolidation day?
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