our irony–free in-box is probably stuffed with de-cluttering advice at this time of year.

De-clutter your house, your body, your car, your life..….

The bigger that bag that you hurl out, the bigger the feeling of freedom:

more space for more fun.

(My favourite café has succumbed.  Funnily enough it was hard to open the door, the rejected-stuff bag was so big)

But what about the stuff we can’t see?

What about the stuff that’s become so ingrained, it’s part of who we are and how we behave?

I’m going to suggest some de-skilling as a top- tip for this week for enjoying work more, and for being better at it.

It’s a particular skill that I’ve got in mind.

Do you rehearse in your imagination, over and over again, before any ‘big’ meeting or discussion?  Do you anticipate in gory detail all the obstacles that are going to be put in your way?  Do you squirm as you think of all the criticisms that are being prepared by others (you know they are doing this).  Do you practice a few put-downs of your own, just to be ready?

Do you – whisper it only – practice some facial expressions for this all-out attack that you are about to face down?

Penny Hunt delivers a knock-out blow

You are very skilled indeed. It’s called sciamachy.

It means shadow boxing, with an imaginary opponent.

Lets think that through one more time – you are fighting with a thing that doesn’t actually exist.


So take your skill of imagining-the-worst (wrapped up in beautiful, but dishonest, wrapping paper bearing the word ‘preparation’), take your shadow-boxing gloves, and hurl them into the rejected stuff bag. And relax.

Still want to do some imagining?

Still want to call this preparation?

Then imagine the best that can happen.

Prepare for the very best.