Over the last couple weeks I’ve had a growing concern that my office is just not functional any more. A standing desk in a room pulling double duty as a spare bedroom.
So over the last week I have pulled out all the office equipment and turned the room back into just a bedroom. The experience made me realize just how much clutter there is everywhere and it all creates distraction.
The white tennis shoes scenario.
There’s a classic book for writers called “The Artists Way”. One of the anecdotes is about a pair of white tennis shoes. Imagine for a moment that you have an immense project in front of you – months worth of work. And in the dead of winter with a foot of snow outside you sit at your desk staring at your computer monitor. Then, from the corner of your eye you see your white tennis shoes tucked in the corner. There’s a little bit of mud scuffed into the toe; you look back at your screen.
Moments later there is a nagging feeling, you must clean those shoes. Never mind that you won’t be able to play tennis for months. This must be done now. “It’ll only take a few minutes” you tell yourself.
Several hours later you’ve cleaned the whole room and accomplished none of your work goals for the day.
A messy office is full of white tennis shoes and as a result I haven’t been getting much work done for what feels like forever. To address this I’m taking the unusual approach of getting rid of an office entirely. I’m focusing on getting my mobile office in better shape so I can easily re-locate to a coffee shop, the bedroom or the kitchen table to get work done. By just moving to a place that has limited distractions I’m hoping I can stay more focused and get more done.