Good Shop Practice #10: Make a Mess

Spread out, make some room. Get out everything you think you’ll need. You are in your space, so make yourself comfortable. Have plenty of rags handy. It’s OK to have crap all over the place when you’re working. When you’re in the middle of a task, you grab things, put things down, and your focus tends to me more on the problem than the organization of the space around you. As you develop a style and pace of movement, you’ll find your natural level of mess while working. Some people are more comfortable in the immediacy of clutter, with everything close to hand. If that’s you, let it work for you. Don’t assume a messy workspace equates to careless craftsmanship.

Good Shop Practice #9: Listen to That Voice

Mechanical instinct: it seems like some people have it and others don’t, but the truth is that while it does come easier for some, it must be cultivated and consciously developed. The way to do that is to listen to the inner voice and reward it when it is right. The most common thing your inner voice says is, “something’s not right here.” At first that voice may be too cautious or too reckless. You need to calibrate it by paying attention and checking it. The more you calibrate that voice, the more you can rely on it and the better your instincts become. Why do I feel like I’m forgetting something? Why is this panel cover not sliding on easily? What’s wrong with this picture? The voice can’t explain; it can only sound the alarm. By practicing, you will learn to tell the false alarms from the real ones and develop a keen mechanical instinct.