A clean, calm and orderly workplace is so extremely important to me. I sometimes slightly obsess over very small details! I was under the impression that I was heading in a wrong direction with this line of thought….until I found out more about how some people (who have achieved great heights in their lines of work) think about this aspect. There is something magical and inspiring about a clean atmosphere that helps clear out my thoughts. I also find myself tremendously productive in a clean place where everything is precisely perfect in it’s place. It’s something so subtle that even if I try to put it in words I would not be able to do full justice. I am someone who is very affected by where I am. In a noisy, clumsy, dirty or cramped up place I simple shut down. I used to think this was something negative only about me but I figured it is not.
It is important to note that I am absolutely not talking about luxury of the place. In fact, I like it simple. It just has to be very orderly and clean. Every single thing being perfectly in its own place. Kinda how I sort things out within my mind (I guess). When going through a chaotic situation where I need to make up my mind about something I try to sort things out in an orderly manner, one by one. If you work at home, or unfortunately a noisy office, you really cannot do much about the noise part of your surroundings. I like to put on some slow instrumental music while I try to do deep work, requiring me to focus. Most of the times I use the tracks in Music For Programming page with some very nice tracks.
Coming back to the surroundings, Cal Newport puts it nicely in his recent post about Deep Work. I’ve also included a couple of pictures that he’s put down in his blog…because I found them to be so inspiring and beautiful!
JK Rowling, the famous Harry Potter author, was building a replica of the Hagrid Hut at the edge of her estate.
That’s taking the work place details to a new level alltogether but still, it’s something that I think should be taken seriously. And it’s very reassuring for me that great people DO take this seriously! Take a look at the Hans Zimmer’s music studio…mind blowing!
What I think is, if you take your craft seriously, you will naturally care a lot of about not just the tools you use for work but also where you work. This is something that most people don’t even understand…that’s what I found to my surprise. I suppose it does take a certain degree of depth even to see what it means to care about your craft and where you’re working on it.
Adding a pleasant surprise, I even found one of my favorties, Derek Sivers, also writing something along the same lines…
When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it.
But despite feeling that way, I brush, floss, go to the gym, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, clean the house, pick up clutter, vacuum, pay my bills, answer my emails, take my vitamins, do the laundry, play with the kid some more, brush and floss again, turn off the computer early, turn off the phone, and get to bed early.
It’s so mundane, but it really helps to feel on top of things. Things in life well-sorted so I don’t need to worry about them.
(And when I ask, “What’s wrong right now?” — it really helps me say “nothing!” when I look around and see this clean house, paid bills, happy child, and have a good night’s sleep.)
It’s really peaceful to go through the motions, even though I don’t really feel like it. It’s more time to think and process.