De-cluttering to complete more work

Imperfect conditions get in the way of work. But clutter is a paradoxical excuse: You might spend more time cleaning up your environment than putting in the work.

Loose papers, a stapler, a dangling family photo: these are the little things that distract you. However untidy your desk space may be the whole point of sitting down is to produce good work.

Here’s an image of Steve Jobs and his untidy desk at home.

This is the same guy that 20 years earlier couldn’t find the perfect sofa so chose emptiness instead.

Perfection can be a creativity killer. Now, it’s the digital squalor of folders on our computer desktops that drive us nuts. The digital world is manifestation of the physical world.

Perfect working conditions are a myth. There’s always going to be another paper or digital folder you want to rename, recolor, downsize.

Like stress, the best you can do is to manage clutter and get on with producing. Clutter is ultimately a sign of productivity.

You should be more worried if your space is too satisfactory. Your desk is a check on your work’s progress; the cleaner it is, the closer you’re to shipping the final product.

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.