I love productivity tips. Reading them makes me feel supercharged, ready to take on the world. If only I’d work out for fifteen minutes each morning, if only I’d wake up earlier or always wear the same type of shirt or talk in clear, action oriented sentence.
If only I’d kept my desk spotless.
That’s one of the classic ones: keep your desk ordered and you’ll be productive. Then I look at my own desk I see, right now: a pile of papers, a half-empty 20 ounce/0.6 liter thermos tea cup, a “world’s best dad” teddy bear, a tipped over picture, an entrance pass to a conference I attended half a year ago, an entrance pass to a party I attended a month ago, another pile of papers, an ergonomic wrist support, a mouse mat stacked on top of a pile of printer paper to get it to the right height, a note with an out-of-date password to an account that was shut down months ago, another pile of scribbled papers.
Yet, somehow, I manage to write. Imagine how productive I’d be if my desk was spotless.
Except that I’ve tried that and it doesn’t work. Here’s why. (more…)