22 September 2010

cubicle life

I have these little signs up in my cubicle.  

They're mostly to keep me motivated and focused and calm, but I think there's also some little vestige of my high school self:  I loved decorating my locker.

The whole locker decorating concept was so pivotal to BHS culture that we had a special night for it every year, a night that ended with a dance.  And any high school event that ends with a dance is clearly important.  If there was a crowning involved at some point, then it was doubly important.

Anything written on a Post-it Note in an office is also clearly important, at least if you're in my office.  Or maybe just in my cubicle.

I hear that there are these incredibly useful technological advances that allow you to track your task list on a computer, but me, I'm an old-fashioned girl.  Give me a hot pink Post-it and a good pen any day over that dinging reminder on Outlook.

Besides, once you finish a Post-it Note task, you get to crumple it up and throw it into the recycle bin.  Win-win-win {the last win was for the environment}.

However, looking at your to-do list, even if it's on a tiny piece of paper {and tiny always implies cute and less overwhelming}, can, at times, feel de-motivating.

Task upon task.  Post-it Note upon Post-it Note, and once you start thinking along the "it's just one thing after another" line, it's not that far down the line before you're thinking:  I wasn't made to be in a cubicle.  I wish I had a door.  Oh, for the glory of walls that go all the way to the ceiling—walls that block out every itty-bitty piece of conversation in this office.  I wish someone besides that movie Office Space had let me know what office life is really like.

And you see, those are unhelpful thoughts.  But like most unhelpful thoughts, they pile up before you realize what's happening.

The day is going along well until you step outside for a short break and the air feels cool and warm at the same time because it's just barely fall.  You sit down on the one bench near your office building and you think about how you feel like you missed the summer.

Then the back of your brain starts nudging you about your to-do list, just waiting for you back in the cubicle, and bam, you're at the bottom of one of those football tackles, struggling to breathe and holding on to the ball.

This is when I turn to my motivational Post-it Notes to pull myself out of the pile.

I have two main ones that remind me that I'm more than my job and that my to-do list isn't actually a balance sheet of my worth.

Motivational Post-it #1

Not everything:  checklists and to-do/must do and projects and catch up/follow-up and details and big picture and...and...and...

Not everything is dependent upon today.

That's a lot to fit on a Post-it, I know.  I write very small {and quite neatly, might I add}, and I used several Post-its for this one.

I could probably accomplish the same idea with a Post-it saying "Chillax, Kamiah," but I don't know if the cool kids are saying chillax anymore and besides, my way sounds more poetical.

I just need a little perspective help:  even the biggest task can be accomplished, little-by-little, day-by-day.

Motivational Post-it #2


I was in a small group last spring that read through Andrew Murray's
The True Vine, a thin book that goes deep into the John 15 stuff on how Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches.  He {Jesus, not Andrew Murray} says, "Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can you, except you abide in me."

This isn't going to become a theological, "Oh, isn't Jesus and everything about him and everyone who believes in him...isn't that all just so terrific?" sort of post.

Rather, I simply want to say:  I get the idea of how I'm a branch and how branches are entirely dependent on the trunk {or the vine, in this example} to produce anything.

Those days when I'm feeling antsy about my life, it helps me to remember that I'm a branch and that even though I feel pulled in 32 directions, my main job is to abide.  To rest.  To trust.  To be connected to the tree.

Branches don't have to have everything figured out, and that one word, that abide, on my Post-it Note reminds me of that.

And sometimes, that's what gets me through the day in my cubicle.


  1. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed myself with the mound of post-its and to-do's. Thanks for some good ideas on staying calm.

    Also, my cubicle is absolutely my "adult locker." I've got pictures, buttons, comic strips, everything hanging up here. :-)

  2. "Adult locker." I love that, Beth. Maybe we should have a "show off your cubicle" time, complete with pictures... :)

    In my cube, I have photos, a calendar my mom makes every year for our family with all the birthdays and anniversaries listed, and a lot of models of the spine. Ok, that last item isn't really an "adult locker" thing, but it does make it more interesting in here...(and makes sense when you factor in the writing-for-a-back-pain-website thing).



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