Clearing The Decks

Day 174 Week 25 Q2 Saturday, June 24, 2023

Have you ever created yourself into chaos? I know many creative outliers who always do it. Perhaps they are creating arch nutrient soup full of all of the elements of a creative life. I know other creative outliers who are obsessively organized and seemingly allergic to clutter. As someone who seems to oscillate between these two states, perhaps this is the right time to offer a definition of being organized. This is the state I aspire to, not having achieved it recently. Evidently, I am no longer as emotionally repressed enough to put forth the effort as I was when predominantly an engineer and businessperson. Now, I am living more on the artistic side of things where emotional expression is far more prized than the emotional repression of technical business professionals who seem to smile less, I have noticed, than, say, musicians.

So what is being organized? It is the state of being able to find anything you have in five minutes or less. This is an excellent aspirational figure of merit which is as out of reach for me as running a four-minute mile. I used to be able to run a single mile in slightly less than 6 minutes, but hey, I was a sprinter who was always amazed at these marathoners who can pound out ten-minute miles for four hours.

Being organized for me usually involves clearing the decks as it is not my natural state. My chief strategy for having a clean house has been to invite company. During the pandemic new levels of chaos emerged for many of us.

Wherever you are on this continuum, there generally comes a time when you have to clear the decks and clean things up because the disorder is getting in the way of getting things done. I find that to create a high-quality project; I have to clear my decks. This is true for me, I cannot prepare a meal when dirty dishes are in the sink. Perhaps that is the anal engineer speaking, but I have found that many of the most creative people I know are a hot mess.  Sometimes people must prepare to move or sell their house to clean up. In fact, this is not sometimes; almost everyone waits to make their living space perfect just as they depart it. 

I find my creativity decreases proportionally to the chaos in my life but I generally do not clean everything up until I have to, with one exception. I clean my digital desktops far more frequently than my actual physical desktops. And my laptop desktop is far cleaner than my desktop computer desktop. Of course, a thirteen-inch screen versus a 27-inch screen can not handle the same number of files and folders which is why there are generally less than a half dozen of these on my laptop’s desktop.

Do you clear the decks before beginning a new project?