Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Power of the Reset

I think I've blogged about this before, but I'm finding that I'm really digging the power of the reset.   I got to see it first-hand again in the hotel this week that I stayed at.  It's not a new concept but I got to think about it a little more since I wasn't the one doing the reset.  I also saw it a few times in Hollywood.  One night on Ventura Blvd. where a person was hanging out of the door of a moving truck in traffic.  They'd do the scene, back all the cars up to the exact same spot, and do it again and again.  Or another time I spent an afternoon on the set of "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" sitting on a staircase while several feet away the same scene was replayed over and over for different camera angles.  (I was not in the movie, I just had a friend who thought it would be fun to go watch the filming and they put us just outside of the shot but right on the set.)

So I've been back in town a few nights but I haven't been able to get stuff reset here like I've liked.  (Not to say I found the house a mess or anything, it was quite tidy.  But as stuff gets pulled out and played with and when dishes get used and the dishwasher isn't empty or something, stuff piles up.)  There's also the matter that at the hotel this is someone's job.  They get paid for it, it's not something you layer on top of everything else.

Well, I got a reset in on most of the places I try to do nightly, but not everywhere.  By tomorrow night I'll be back on track.  But I've been thinking about what makes it work, or why certain rooms as just get dirty all over again, no matter how hard we work at them.  (The kitchen counters, the laundry/cat room, my side of the bed.)  As I strive to live a more Uncluttered Life amidst the hustle and bustle of life, the phrase "A place for everything, and everything in its place." comes to mind.  Sure, that's all well and good.  Makes sense.

But as I looked at the counters of this upscale ($500/night - we got a massive discount) hotel, I noticed something... whether it was the coffee service by the door or the ice bucket, empty glasses and open it and it's $5 bottles of water; or even the soap and extra hand-towels in the bathroom -- they were all in trays.  Trays.  In some ways, that feels like extra stuff.  Another thing to buy, to keep clean, another piece of stuff to own.  In a world where people are dying from diseases that could be prevented if only for the lack of clean water, or even the lack of food, here I am looking at molded pieces of plastic and coming to a realization. 

As the trays define where something should go, just as much, they define what does not go there.  A tray next to the computer could hold printer paper of varying sizes, incoming receipts, bills to be paid.  Suddenly, it indicates that the counter next to the computer is not a place for circulars, kid's craft projects or dirty dishes.

And trays can also be used to contain things.  The cats are messy.  They seem to eat with their mouths open, there is always small bits of food on the floor around their dishes.  And it spreads.  But if I put their dishes inside an upside paper box lid, I'm guessing I'll no longer have food everywhere, just a box lid to upend over a garbage can.

And so, just like that, less mess.  Less frequent need for cleaning and a more peaceful state of mind (because clutter is a subconscious broken promise with yourself per David Allen and GTD) and in some cases, less stuff.

This must be why trays and the like cost so much, because they know by the time people have put this much thought into it, they're going to be committed to the outcome because of the peace they believe it will bring.
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