The De-Tolerated Life

Shortly after writing my post about de-tolerating your environment, I took on the elements of my desk that were most aggravating me:

  • I dusted the swords on top.
  • I found a better place for my glasses.
  • I used an old IKEA shelf as a cord manager.
  • I found better homes for both my hard drives and for my fancy poker chips.

And that meant that when I sat down at my desk, those five things that had been bothering me were gone. That meant that I could work in idyllic peace having achieved my productive utopia, yes?

No. But, Kinda.

See? Tragedy begets beauty! Promise. (not).
See? Tragedy begets beauty! Promise. (not).

Here’s the thing: much like the point of this blog, which is practical tools to make hard times happier, the point was not to make everything perfect- it was to make everything better. To create a bit more of a buffer between me and the shocks that may come, and increase the “slack” available in my work environment. Think of it as the “broken-window theory” writ small.

The thing is, I actually had a physical manifestation of it working while I was making the changes. You see, I had a cup of coffee on my electric mug warmer, and while fiddling with the cables and such I knocked it over – spilling it across my desk. Thankfully not across anything that would have been damaged, but it was my last cup of coffee, and it was exactly the kind of thing that would make someone swear, decide it was a bad day, throw up their hands and yell out “F*** MY LIFE!” in First-World angst.

At least, that’s how sometimes react. Maybe it’s just me. I certainly started to react that way – it’s that whole “amygdala responds first!” thing, and given the choice of fight, flight, or freeze, I tend to lean towards the former – which is why anger management was the first life hack I experimented with. I felt the surge of adrenaline, I felt the flush of anger – and then I laughed, because how silly would it be to get angry while you’re doing things designed to de-stress your environment? Ridiculous!

I chuckled, I got a towel, I cleaned up the coffee, and finished arranging the cables. The shelf is wonderfully convenient while hiding the cables I do use, and the tray for my glasses is both convenient and aesthetic. They are tiny things, and no, they haven’t made my life the perfect incarnation of workplace bliss – but life is made up of tiny things, many of them, and every one I can improve also improves me for the trying.

How about you? Any tolerations you’ve banished? How did it go?

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