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10 habits to avoid

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Nice list, many of them seem true.

The thing that's gotten me screwed up more than anything is just letting my mind wander when I'm working. This happens a lot if I'm stressed, or am going through heavy decision making or trouble with other people etc.
I think this is why I try to let myself fade into a sort of trance where I'm completely absorbed in my work. This is exactly like when you get "Zoned Out" while watching a movie or reading a book. Every time I walk into the shop or pick up a tool I've found it necessary to just dump all of my thoughts and work in almost a meditative state where my processing works in a nonverbal language that is concerned with the flow of your knife through wood, or the angle of your hammer strikes to make the material flow correctly.

Basically what I'm trying to say is even though most of the things in your list have to do with keeping your shop clean, I've found it more important to clean out my mind in preparation for work. Because if I'm mad and I take my bad attitude out on a 2x72, it's not going to be merciful. Also my work comes out better when I'm more focused, I tend to get more things right on the first try.

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I absolutely agree. But I found that cleaning up your workspace does clean up your mind, that's why many points are indeed about keeping order. There are times when I stop the work on one project and work on something else, or call it a day entirely. These are the situations when I just don't feel like I can produce the quality that expect from myself.

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I have made it a habit to clean up my workshop, exactly for the reasons described.


Not only does this give me a shop where I won't trip over all the stuff, and my tools are where they are supposed to be,

but the 15 minutes of cleaning also give my mind some much needed focus. :D

When I would start right away, I often am too exited and tend to rush and ruin my work.

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  • 1 year later...

adding a bit to number eight. I do my spark throwing early when I go to my shed. wether welding, or grinding I get it done early on and spend the rest of my time hand sanding or whatever but mostly on fire watch. give it a good look over before leaving for the day and you may stop a spark from becoming a fire.

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I agree to all, but practice few. I don't have a clean shop floor, it's got wires and hoses and all kinds of stuff laying across it. Stepping on cords and air hoses is bad, stupid and dangerous. Also, all these cords and hoses prevent a proper clean up from happening.

My horizontal surfaces are usually piled with stuff. Things are always moving around in my shop due to the space shortage or just changing techniques that require different setups. So I can't always find the tool I need. This is totally unnecessary and stupid.

Every couple of weeks I do clean and organize because it gets out of hand, but I never completely get the place organized or clean. Usually one area gets cleaned at the expense of another area accumulating more stuff. I keep adding shelves for storage, so that helps move stuff out of the working areas.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Our shop looks like a bomb went off in it.

Even when I do take a day off to clean and organize it, within 30 minutes of either my wife or I starting work, it falls into complete disarray.

I have taken all sorts of training courses and classes on productivity and time management. One of the classical assumptions is that in order to meet maximum productivity levels, you need to have a clean and orderly work space. I disagree with that assumption. I find a clean and orderly work space to be a sterile and unimaginative environment. I find my best creativity shines when I am bringing order out of chaos.


In one of the classes, the facilitator told me that a messy and cluttered desk is the sign of a messy and cluttered mind. So I asked her what an empty and sterile desk was the sign of. No response.


One of the interesting things I figured out about people was on the topic of "Being Organized". If you ask someone whether they are "organized" they will invariably answer yes. If you then ask them why they think so, they will usually tell you about how their work area is arranged just so, or how they have files set up for this and that. I even had one woman tell me that she was "so organized that her clothes closet was arranged by color."


Organization is a state of being for things, not for people. Your work bench is organized, your files are organized, your desk is organized. That doesn't mean that you are organized.


Organization is a state of function for people. You are organized if you function in an organized manner. Not, if you have organized your environment.

You can have a perfectly organized environment and still function in a disorderly manner. The obverse is also true, it's just not as easy to achieve.

Edited by Joshua States
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I could not agree more, but what about that tripping hazard and stepping on things that roll.



I never said my shop or my personal work space were safe. Quite the contrary actually. I don't really think safety is a matter of something being safe as much as it is a matter of how the people using that something operate.

Part of working in an organized manner means decreasing potential safety hazards. I just do not happen to list a cluttered work bench as a safety hazard. I don't think any workshop with power tools and open flame devices can ever have the safety hazards eliminated. The danger always exists. It is the responsibility of the operator to function in a safe manner within the parameters given.

How many of us remove much of the "safety" equipment on our power tools? How many of us still have the shrouds on our angle grinders? The kick-back screens on our table saws? The guards on the wood shaper? How many of us have any safety equipment on our 2x72 grinders?


On another note.

Our entire shop fits in a single car bay of our 3-car garage.

Well, it started out like that but it has been creeping into the adjacent area.......

Anyway, there are 2 motorcycles and a Jeep in that garage, so the "shop" measures about 12 ft by 28 ft. and we have a lot of stuff crammed in there. Even when it is clean and organized, it is still pretty much a disaster.

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