Minimalism and Real Work

On this week’s Back to Work, Dan and Merlin talked about minimalism, and how it can become a distraction in and of itself.

They discuss the point that if someone can’t work unless every single cord and pixel are in just the right place, maybe they should be more interested in the work at hand.

I think this is dead on. I like having a minimal computing experience as much as the next Mac nerd, but I do feel the temptation to keep tweaking and keep shedding tools. Sometimes, that temptation feels bigger than a looming deadline.

Minimalism isn’t about a super clean desk with an iMac perfectly centered on it, with a single TextEdit window open on the screen. It should be about getting the work done, with the best tools possible. For some people, that means having 45 Safari tabs open while pushing back the piles of paper just enough to make room for a mouse. Some people need a clear desk with a full-screen text editor.

In reality, minimalism (or zen, or whatever) doesn’t have a fixed definition. It varies. It is about reducing friction just enough to work, then sitting down and doing the work.

Don’t let fighting the distractions become a distraction.