[Bettering Zeal] Curbing Couch Clutter

Clutter kills creativity. When you’re working on any project, your momentum can easily be distracted by the time you spent looking for a tool or that note you took. I have a constant need for things to occupy certain spaces – it’s compulsive really – so curbing the clutter on my couch counter should cut down on distraction. This is my primary writing area, after all. I can then apply this mindset to other clutter prone areas.

This couch configuration is actually an example of 5S.

Seiri [sort]
If I’m embarrassed by the clutter of a space, I won’t take a “before” photograph, so just imagine this space was so full of assorted notes that the Marvel Select Juggernaut was barely even visible. The intent was to sort out all of those notes here. The reality was I wasn’t processing notes in this space. Now this space only has necessary items – remotes, notepads, and some creativity inspirators – with any remaining items straightened… out.

Seiton [straighten, set in order]
I moved out the paperwork clutter from this space and dumped onto my office table. While that only seems like sweeping piles of junk from one pile into another, since the office table was already cluttered with paperwork, that action should inspire me to deconstruct a method to process these notes in a much larger project. The remaining items on the couch all have place and purpose, with the added bonus of regular cleaning cycles.

Seiso [shine]
It’s not that I’m bad at cleaning, just that I’m bad at recognizing when something needs to be cleaned. After taking two hours to thoroughly clean my kitchen, I can now spend two minutes every day cleaning surfaces that I maybe didn’t recognize needed cleaning. Similarly, the next time I thoroughly interact with any of these inspirators – Juggernaut, Silver Surfer, Pain-Yatta, and a dog – I’ll use that opportunity to clean, disinfect, and assess the mess.

Seiketsu [standardize]
This couch is where I write, surf the web, and receive guests. I sit on camera right, with the guest spot being camera left (near Pain-Yatta). The larger notepad is for writing more extensive notes to carry with me throughout the day, whereas guests may only want to write casual notes with pen or pencil. By having these tools symmetrical, and having specific spots of their own on the couch, the space should become standardized.

Shitsuke [sustain]
Every plan starts off with good intentions. I can’t predict what this space will look like in a year. I can only say that by spending this bit of time to establish a good working order for how this space should look, including writing this thought piece, it shouldn’t look worse. Assuming all goes well or better throughout the year, it should look even better. By constantly sorting, straightening, shining, and standardizing, it should sustain.

Maintaining this frequently-used space should help me tackle complex areas inside my seldom-used cluttered office, “Zeal,” like those notes. The whiteboard I highlighted last week has been helpful.

My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.