The Instagram Desk
We’ve been jealous of posts of people with organized desks. The posters seem so put together, organized, productive. We look around and realize that the pile of papers and other junk we have lying around is probably getting in the way of us becoming fulfilled people. I have been and sometime still am an adherent to this thought but it seems I’m not the only one. Mary Kondo and Instagram have made it seem like we too can become the Ikea catalogue fantasy. However, I’m losing my belief.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I can use the idea of organization and cleaning as a procrastination tool. “Oh, I can’t possibly write that difficult email until my desk is clean.” The “resistance” uses the argument of feng shui to convince us that we will not be of peak energy or brilliance if things are out of place. We end up avoiding the hard stuff in favour of the easy organizational tasks.
Organizing also sings the siren song of productivity. How much of an impact was the third proofread of that document? It’s hard to say. However, how productive was folding a load of laundry? That’s easy to measure. Clothes were in one pile and now they’re out of sight. Wow! We’re biased towards the impact of things that are right in front of our faces.
The quick tidy up before work also pretends to be a metaphor for organizing thoughts. It’s not. That’s a messy tasks that requires an internal taskmaster to whip us back into concentrating on the task at hand. It requires focus and isn’t easy to accomplish while scrubbing.
It’s hard being a grown up and part of that is abandoning beliefs we held dear in our youth… like the thought that an instagrammable desk lead to great ideas. They just look nice but unless we’re selling desk organizers, it might not be as productivity-inducing as we think. Better spend the time putting thoughts in the right places.