16 January 2013

The Dump Run - How to take stock and clean out your life

The Dump Run - How to take stock and clean out your life

There's nothing more Australian than loading up the Ute in your wife beater and taking the rubbish to the dump. Forget the 'wonders of modern therapy', save that talk for Jerry Springer. Sort the junk from the stuff, throw the junk in the Ute and chuck it away.

Actually, when you think about it, sorting 'junk' from 'stuff' is somewhat of an Australian science. My father taught me how to decide what was junk and what was stuff after Mum sent us to the shed using some pretty creative language. It's something that relies on gut instinct not necessarily any kind of written rules.

My mower has been held together by a zip tie and two garbage bag holders for two years, yet despite me occasionally informing it just how much of a worthless piece of junk it is, it actually sits on my stuff pile. It's not shiny or pretty but by geez it works. The $400 blender on the other hand spun around 8 or 9 times before it went the junk pile.

This weekend I went outside to check out the shed and realised it was clean. Well crap. What am I going to do now? What else is there to do but head into the office and see what can be shredded. I love shredding. It's a level two dump run. Instant destruction.

The thing with cleaning out the office is it made me think about how many other areas of my life don't get the 'junk' or 'stuff' check on a regular basis. How often do I get caught up servicing the 'junk' in my life when I could be focussing on the 'stuff' that works?

So here's what I did, and I reckon you should give it a go too.


  1. 1 packet of gold stars
  2. 1 packet of red dots
  3. Giant sheet of cardboard
  4. Pen and Paper


  1. Write down a list of everyone you speak to this week. If they add value give them a gold star, if they annoy you, give them a red dot.
  2. Every time you use something (use, not move out of your way) put a gold star on it. Every time you trip over it, red dot.
  3. Do this with the relationships in your life too. Every time a relationship adds value, attach a gold star, when it detracts value, red dot. (Stealth Recruitment does not approve of placing stickers on human beings. Please refrain this activity to your giant sheet of cardboard.)
  4. At the end of the week, move everything with a red dot to the metaphoric or literal junk pile and get rid of it!!! (Unless it's your mother in law, put her back on the stuff pile)

The beauty of the Dump Run is that it allows you to see the other things in your life more clearly. Whether it be in your shed, in your office, in your relationships or in your career, when you cut the clutter you can start to focus on what is working instead of what's not.

This week we asked 4 of our clients and 4 of our candidates to red dot and gold star their relationships with Recruitment Companies. Here are their results:

"I had to put red dots on top of 4 agencies that I used on a regular basis. When I started looking at how they were responding to our requests, I realised that the relationship wasn't working for us." HR Advisor

"2 gold stars and 6 red spots made me realise how many recruitment companies had actually seen a copy of my CV! It was a frigthening exercise, but by doing it I now feel like I have better control of my personal information." Senior Mine Geologist

"I put a red spot on my cat, but my wife made me take it off. I kept this limited to agencies that went out of their way to contact me this week. By the time 8 had called me about 'Awesome opportunities in Geology' I had to buy some more red dots" Senior Mine Planning Engineer

"The little red dot proved to be very theraputic. I called all of the agencies that were working on a particular role for me. (There were 5!) I then red dotted my way back to having 2 companies working on the role and ended up with a better quality of candidates and a lot less confusion. An interesting lesson." HR Manager

So do it for Australia. Go for a dump run.