Ethan Banks On productivity.

On Being Obsessive Compulsive & Prepping For The CCIE Lab


I saw this post about messy desks on a Cisco blog. The post basically says that if you’re too neat, your obsession with perfection could lead to psychological issues. To that I say, “Nonsense.”

I am mildly obsessive-compulsive. I do things like face my cash the same way and sort it by denomination highest-to-lowest and front-to-back before putting it in my wallet. I face all my Splenda packets the same way before tearing them open to empty them into my coffee. I name and tag all my MP3 files by artist, album year of publication, album name, track number, and track name. And then I sub-sort albums by genre. My car and my desk are neat, a place for everything and everything in its place. I have 3 little tins in my desk, one with pennies, another with tacks, paper clips and other office fasteners, and a third with non-penny change suitable for the vending machine. I can’t handle clutter or disorder for very long; I am compelled to organize. I have three flat-panel monitors at work that I have positioned and set carefully to minimize glare and maximize brightness and contrast for font readability from my customary seating position. I manage projects with detailed lists of tasks, assignees, due dates, and dates of completion. I shred all my junk mail credit card offers. It was a major step for me to move my assortment of unusual networking cables from my desk to the shared staging room, where my carefully collected cables will doubtless be pillaged by well-meaning miscreants. :)

My point is this: I believe that being mildly obsessive-compulsive has helped my CCIE prep. Being organized has helped me create roadmaps and stay focused on the goal. Without agonizing over details, I don’t think I would have gotten this far. The practice labs have confirmed this: if I don’t keep agonizing over details, I’m not going to get through to the other side.

1 comment

  • Slightly O/T, but I thought I’d share this with you…Found by Scott Morris via this link:

    “sh ip int br | exc una” is a good place to get your IP addresses.
    “sh run | in interface|ip address” is a good place to get your interface, IP
    and MASK information.
    “sh int | in is up|Internet” is a good place for interfaces that are really
    up, plus IP and VLSM information.


By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

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