“Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.”
Confession time - I alphabetize both my books and my spices. I create “homes” for things like buttons, paint brushes, and Lego mini-figures, so when one of those objects is separated from the others, I know where they “live” as does the rest of the family.
However, I am not a neatnik, clean freak, or germaphobe. I like order, but I am not hyper-organized. I can’t leave dishes in the sink, but I can leave the dishwasher loaded. I do the laundry in short order, but I can spend all week putting the clothes away.
There’s a strange tension between living in a mess and feeling messy.
For me, the problem comes when I make keeping things orderly a bigger priority than productivity or when I opt for cleanliness over relationships.
Do you ever “clean” to avoid working on a challenging project?
At the office, this looks like tackling email rather than working on a mentally demanding task. At home the tension is more like scrubbing the sink while what’s really needed is some attention on scrubbing some childish attitudes.
I understand there’s usually a correspondence between creativity, messiness, and productivity. I won’t ever find a solution; I just have to find ways to manage the tension.
Part of what I’m trying to do is recognize a few facts about the state of my world (and maybe yours?):
- Unsubscribing from mass emails is better than pushing “delete” a few hundred times a week.
- Messes wait for me, but relationships don’t.
- Surfing the web only provides an illusion of productivity.
- Pulling “weeds” of problems is much easier when they are small.
- Social media isn’t a friend of productivity; use as a modern day version of The Cigarette Break.
- Nothing happens unless you show up.
- Paying attention is often a competitive advantage.
- Getting started matters.
- Done is better than perfect.
I’m not tackling all of this for the length and breadth of The Year. Whenever possible, I’m just going to give it a try TODAY.