There are many people who believe that the way to get things done is to work in a completely quiet, clean, and clutter free environment. I’ve heard this from several people, and some have gone so far as to claim that there’s no way to do anything otherwise. I’ve actually heard people say that no one can get anything done in a messy place. I agree this is true for some people, but not for all. Just like with most things, there are different ideals for different people. I think it has to do with one’s nature, as well what is familiar to each individual.
As the eldest child in a large family, I grew up in a house that didn’t exactly look like something in a magazine. There was, like most homes, some clutter around – it included school papers, mail, dishes left from meals or snacks, toys for the children, as well as projects that my dad often did. Dad did basically anything that had to be done around the house, such as home improvement and car repairs, instead of hiring someone else to do it, so there would be different materials around until the projects were done. Also, there were some packrat tendencies, let’s say (not naming names). With all of those people living under one roof, there was usually something out of place. It was also full of sounds as well as objects. Such is the life of a member of a large family. What people who didn’t spend time in this type of environment don’t understand is that it’s quite possible to learn to accomplish just about anything despite noise and messes.
Some people, due to personality and environment, need absolute quiet to concentrate. Some need music or a dull roar around them (to use a phrase of my mom’s). Some can function either way. It’s the same with the condition of one’s surroundings. My husband, who grew up in a very neat and organized home, does his best when our home is at its cleanest. Partly because of the type of environment when I was young, I can ignore just about any noises or messes on most occasions. For example, since I’ve been working on writing articles and several other projects, I have a few piles of paperwork on a table in the room where I spend most of my at-home time. Taxes, bills, mail, and other projects are all just waiting for me to deal with them once I have the time (most likely not until the weekend). However, I don’t notice them, and they don’t interfere in the least with what I’m doing at the time. For me, it’s all internal. When inspiration strikes me, I can function no matter what the surroundings. I’ve been able to read or write in dark, crowded, cluttered, noisy areas as well as clean and quiet ones. I honestly don’t really notice what’s around me when my brain is in gear. If my mind is distracted by thoughts of other things, being in one type of environment or another won’t help. Like I said, for me, it’s all internal. I do understand that many people really are affected by what’s around them, and agree that it makes all the difference in their situations. It’s just not true for everyone. I just find it strange that some of them insist that I don’t know what works for me.
In some circumstances, these messes actually motivate me. There’s nothing like a pile of laundry or paperwork waiting nearby to convince me that it’s the perfect time to do the dishes!