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a blog by Chris Barrow

Christmas week in The Bunker


I’m a neat freak.

This is possibly the quietest week of the working year and an opportunity to spend some time thinking, planning and preparing for the first quarter of 2017.

In the run up to Christmas I created a new task list in Wunderlist entitled “Xmas projects” and started to pile in there all of those “around to it” jobs that never seem to get done in the hurly burly of “normal” work.

My next 6 working days will be about addressing that list – just as well as there were 27 items on it by yesterday morning.

I spent some time in The Bunker yesterday and my very first completed task was to create a personal cash flow forecast for the year ahead – the MOAS (mother of all spreadsheets) to which I refer most Sunday mornings, updating my cash flow position from internet banking and projecting personal expenses for the full year.

It is very cathartic for me to look at our personal expenses a year ahead and make plans for accelerated debt reduction, holidays and any other events and projects that require funding.

One thing is for certain – a significant driver for me at the moment is to make our household completely free of debt ASAP and plans are well on course.

In the afternoon I completed a couple of unusual tasks that may seem to have little bearing on business planning but psychologically mean a lot.

The first was to fix and tidy the top drawer in a small 2-drawer bureau that sits next to my desk. I’m paper-free at home – all documents are scanned into Evernote and shredded.

My working desk has no drawers but the top drawer of the bureau is full of odds and sods like a stapler, cellotape, pen refills, envelopes, batteries and goodness knows what else.

Over time it had become so full of junk that the bottom had warped out of place. I’ve been staring at this untidy drawer for a year – yesterday it was emptied out, cleaned, repaired and returned to showroom condition.

Big mental tick.

Next – my clothes wardrobe upstairs – crammed full of shirts, sweaters and shoes I will never wear again (and, in some cases, haven’t worn for 5 years).

One hour of focused and ruthless effort filled 3 large green garden refuse bags and they will be making their way to the local charity shop in the village in the next day or so.

The 4 pairs of almost new Levis that I can no longer get into will either be recycled to my sons or sold on e-bay.

I now have a very tidy wardrobe and a cornucopia of assorted hangers.

Yes – the remaining sweaters and shirts are hung in a certain order.

Tidy desk, tidy wardrobe – a premature physical Spring Clean that prepares me for my mindful voyage into the task list that will occupy me for the rest of this week and into the next.

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