Fighting Entropy, Our Environment’s Effect on Productivity

I didn’t do any work yesterday, at least, not on Art.

However, I did spend a lot of time cleaning my apartment. What a relief…

My goals require a lot of work to achieve. I have no misconceptions about them. I’m in the business of putting art in people’s hands, and I’m on the long road to making that happen.

I don’t need a messy environment to get in the way.

I’m a slave to my Environment

I’ve become more observant in the last few years of how my environment effects me.

  • I am more likely to open up my computer and write when my desk is clean and orderly.
  • I’m more likely to head out for a morning jog when my workout gear is clean and easily accessible.
  • I am more likely to spend all day printing when I’m not tripping all over stuff laying around my apartment.
  • I am more likely to spend an evening drawing when my drawing pads are accessible, my pencils/pens are organized, and my dry work area is clean
  • I am more likely to make a healthy meal for myself when I have a clean kitchen and a fridge full of food

I work best in clean, minimalist environments. I dream of a desk with a computer, pen, pencil, pad of paper, and nothing else. There is a strange contradiction within me, however, because I have tons of stuff. I collect and accumulate stuff like crazy. Pens, unopened mail, electronics equipment, scraps of paper, plastic silverware, books, CDs, comics, you name it. It’s just hard wired into me, and happens unconsciously.

On top of my penchant for accumulating stuff, entropy seems to be a little stronger in my life than usual. Entropy is, of course, the Thermodynamic phenomenon that makes everything becomes less organized and more chaotic, unless a certain amount of work is done to keep it together.

Entropy. Lucky me.

I’ve got enough on my plate. Two full time jobs (one of which has a paycheck). In addition, a few other big initiatives in my life that aren’t quite relevant to this site.

The real lesson here is that spending all day cleaning is working, just not in a direct way. It is work at being able to work better in the future.

It is an investment in a healthy environment. An environment that will encourage my work, rather than inhibit it. An environment that makes it easier, and more enjoyable to work. An environment that speaks success to me.

Our environments, after all, are always talking to us. Our environment tells us who we are, how successful we are, what we do with our time, and what we should think of ourselves.

I for one want an environment that pushes me in the direction of success, that is specifically designed to do so. I need an environment designed to subtly turn and direct me to do and feel the right things.

Like all things of value in life, this takes work to keep in place. The work will pay you back though.

Are you creating Assets or Liabilities?

Like everyone, I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and learned the difference between an asset and a liability. The idea of assets and liabilities applies to environment, but in an emotional way. Your environment can be an emotional asset, providing support, and good feelings when you work, or it can be a liability, hindering your ability to work, and providing bad feelings when working.

I’m not talking about anything “woo” here, I’m talking about really practical, basic stuff. Is the desk you work on clean, and easy to work at, or is your mouse covered with crap, and you always have to move stuff out of the way to get work done?

Is your apartment/house clean? Or are you distracted by the fact that the dishes aren’t done and you need to do laundry if you want to wear clean clothes tomorrow?

My old printmaking station didn’t work well for me. It was small, and even more detracting, it was too low. I am tall, so standing up and working on a surface 30 inches off the ground doesn’t work for me. When I got a new printmaking work station, my workplace became an asset that encourages work.

For nearly everything that requires work, we can create an environment that promotes productivity and getting that work done. My experience is that if I don’t actively work to make my environment an asset, entropy will take over, and it will work against me.

Have you worked your environment to make it aid you and your goals? Make you more productive? Need some help with this? Leave a comment and let me know!

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