Clear Out

It’s early in the year for spring cleaning, but I have been sorting out my office space and shelves recently.

Last summer I was struck by a notion, I wish I could remember where I read it, but (paraphrasing) it said “The less stuff you have, the more enjoyment you can give to the things you do have.” I like this idea. It really got me thinking about my shelves and storage spaces and possessions.

Rather than have fifty boardgames, each of which I play once a year – maybe I should have twenty I really like which I play more often. Having fewer means I could decide more quickly on what I play too! Instead of hoarding books (because they’re mine!), maybe I could trim down my bookcases to see more of what I actually want. Stop hoarding trinkets of past hobbies just because I used to do this or collect that.

Focus instead on the things I like, or the few things I do want to keep.

Have less, to focus more.

Which makes me think of viva prep (of course).

There are many things one could do, but not all have equal value. Focus more on a few things than spend only a little attention on lots. You don’t need to re-read every paper in your bibliography, but you can focus on the few that will really help. You don’t need to read every paper by your examiners; perhaps focus on the most recent ones to get an idea of current work. You can’t write endless summaries of what you did and why, but you can choose two or three to invest time in.

Focus on what you need most for the viva. Find the few things that will give you the most help.