When I was younger, I didn't care much about order. Didn't care if my bed was made, if the dishes were done, things like that.
Partially, I guess, it's a normal thing for a kid to not care about those things. Also, my parents are very clean and orderly people, and I've heard a lot of times generations switch patterns between generation - one generation will be into order, the next will find it oppressive and be messy, the one after that will find the messiness awful and tend to be much more orderly, etc, etc.
I don't know if that's true - I haven't seen any studies on it. Sounds reasonable, though.
So yeah, when I was younger, I didn't care. I wanted to read my books and play Chess at the cafe or do interesting things, and cleaning seemed like it didn't fit the bill. I figured I thrived well enough in chaos, and I'd rather have a chaotic environment and more time to myself.
I'm not exactly sure when that changed, but I've done a 180 on it.
Nowadays, when my mind is scattered and I'm having a hard time thinking, I tend to like cleaning. If your environment is a mess, it kind of pulls your thoughts in all directions as you look around. Also, cleaning is one of those things where your mind is busy on something else, but you can do great thinking in the back of your mind - similar to how you can have such creative thoughts when showering. You're kind of working sideways at whatever you're working on.
Naturally orderly people don't need this message since they're already doing it. But if you think you thrive in chaos, then try cleaning the next time you're confused or mentally scattered. Don't worry about cleaning everything, just start picking up the stuff that's most obviously in the wrong place and putting it away, throwing it away, whatever. Maybe run a cloth or paper towel over a dusty surface. If you have 4-6 items on your desk, put them in a nice pretty sort of pattern.
It's like magic, really. The orderly already know this, but if you've never tried cleaning when you're having a hard time thinking - well, I highly recommend you try it.
I thought I was the only one! Cleaning takes my mind off things. I usually feel refreshed once I see all my books and papers piled up neatly on my desk.
Cleaning absolutely helps. Sometimes, I'll be working on a project at my desk for long enough that I end up surrounded in piles of paper, empty mugs, and other random items. It's funny how this physical mess ends up creating a sort of mental fog, where I don't feel like getting anything done, so I typically get up from my chair, step back, and sort things into a pile. Even forming piles is better than leaving things scattered around. It's the structure that probably helps. Good post!
Ephemeralization's been a really interesting effect concurrent with the fat loss; 34 pounds since the new year. Okay, the pantry and closet emptying might have been predictable, but the bookcases and weapons rack?! Huh.
I've noticed this helps too. I'll even put off certain chores in case I need to do this.
I think it has something to do with letting your mind wonder, like you already pointed out. But also as something more. You just accomplished something. A chore now complete. It's a micro-win, which could be just the thing you need when you're feeling scattered. A little boost, to reassure you that even though your mind feels out of whack, you can still get something done. All while letting your mind solve bigger problems.
In 2006, I quit the vast majority of intoxicants. I don't drink, I don't use recreational drugs, I don't smoke tobacco, I don't drink soda, and I am working on quitting all sweets entirely, and largely succeeding. I am not one for fine dining, and not frequently one for other forms of hedonism.
I usually do not advertise this - I might write about it for people who wish to know what I do, but I do not bring it up in conversation unless it comes up. But occasionally it does come up, and a common reaction is someone saying, half-joking, "Then why bother living?"
I think I understand. Many people do jobs they dislike for causes they feel nothing about. This must wreak havoc on a man's spirit. Most people spend more of their waking time on their work than any other thing - I can only imagine what spending the bulk of my time on something I disliked would feel like. Or worse, not even something I disliked - but something I felt very neutral about.
If a man's occupation becomes a slow crushing of his spirit, then of course he would need high energy, and high impact to free him from it. He needs to fit all of his leisure into his remaining waking time - from 6PM at night to 10PM when he is home from work, on the two days of his weekend, and his vacation time each year. Of course, not even that time is all his own - he still has to commute, run errands, do admin, do necessary little things. The reality of the situation is far worse - most people don't live bad lives, they just move slowly and quietly through things they don't particularly care for.
Of course, if a man only had 5% of his waking time to himself, he would want to maximize this time in the easiest, most surefire way of producing pleasure and relaxation. Who could blame this man? I don't. If I was suffering through a soul-killing occupation and had very little time, I would want to make sure that the time I did have was very enjoyable.
Originally Posted: Friday, December 5, 2008
Before I got wrapped up in all that is life (dinner, feeding the dog, checking email, writing a post, etc) I was going to write about my drive home today and the thoughts that floated through my head. It was a long drive, the weather made it very difficult. I took this time to listen to some Christmas music and just relax, it was slow moving.