Monday, April 2, 2007

"Space" Experiment

I have this theory that the more tidy, clean, and organized one's space is, the more productive one will be. I have observed that when my office and house are in better shape, so am I. I feel I get more school work done, more "life" stuff completed, am in better shape, and procrastinate on things a lot less when my environment is more ordered.

Last week I had a really unproductive week. So this week in the Westman house we are doing a 5 day experiment. We are going to try to keep our "spaces" tidy/clean/organized for five days and see if we get more of what we want to get done. Although technically we will be doing more housework stuff, my hope is that we will get even more done as we will need to procrastinate less.

A few other things I am doing as well to increase productivity:
1. Get to sleep earlier. To do this and still keep my spaces ordered I will need to do less time wasters like watching TV and web surfing.
2. Work on first things first. In my list of things to do for the day, I often start with the least important (and easy) things to do first. This week I will do "first" things first.

So anyway, to really test my theory, I was wondering if anyone would like to try the 5 day experiment as well. If you are, it would be great if you could let me know and then report later how things went. I'm interested to see how it would play out in other homes.

May Light increase!


Jay Boaz said...


It just so happens that I have a freshly clean house from this week-end (thanks to my wonderful girlfriend!). I do know that I am much more motivated to keep it clean now (and not just because Sarah threatened never to set foot in the place again if it's as bad as before we cleaned it!). I'm not sure if it's making me feel more productive as a whole though...admittedly I'm pretty tired right now which would be skewing my mood.

I'll let you know Friday if I do more stuff than usual. :)

Jay Boaz
(you should stop by and see the place after work one day this week)

Mark said...

Jay: Not sure what to say. I am in shock for two reasons. First of all, I know what your appartment looked like before and so I'm shocked that Sarah would step foot in it, nevermind clean it (for some reason the word "biohazard" flashed through my mind)! I'm also shocked that she would offer such an incredible gift to you, you better not let this one get away! Anyway, I rejoice with you that your appartment is looking good. May her threats keep you motivated in keeping it that way. Yeah, so let me know how things are for you in 5 days time, I'm definitely curious.

Mark said...

Day 1: Day 1 went pretty well. I cleaned up my office and had a fairly long list of things to do. I got almost all of them done, though unfortunately not my biggest project. I also got some things done that weren't on my list! Jobina did a lot cleaning upstairs and by the end of the day our main level looked great. I didn't get to sleep quite by the time I had decided (11pm) but I finished off a text book that was on my list. Overall, I'd give my productivity a 7.7 out of 10.

Sarah said...

Mark I agree that having an organized space could lead to more productivity! In my life I tend to clean when I have a project to get done. I use cleaning and getting organized as a great way to procrastinate. If my space was clean and organized all the time I would have one less thing to distract me!
Biohazard is a good way to describe Jay's apartment, or at least it was (it better still be clean!)
Thanks for your interesting thoughts!

Mark said...

Sarah: I have thought about the procrastination angle, thanks for raising that point. I too sometimes use cleaning as way to procrastinate from big projects that take lots of energy/discipline to do. However, if there is no cleaning/organizing to do, I find it more difficult to procrastinate on those big projects.
Day 2: House is even cleaner then yesterday and productivity is increasing (even though I procrastinated more then I wanted to in the morning). Interestingly, I'm finding that I'm starting to avoid the cleanest places in the house and doing my work in the more disorderly places. I'm also self-aware of the urge to "let my office" go so that I'm more comfortable procrastinating. Interesting. Today's productivity gets an 8.3 out of 10.

Mark said...

Day 3: Today, Jobina reported increased productivity and mine was about the same. I'd say about a 8.2 out of 10.

Mark said...

Day 4: Today sucked for productivity (though the house was not quite as ordered either). My morning and afternoon were a complete write off productivity wise. However, my awareness of my ineptitude and "falling of the wagon" made me so ashamed of myself that I did 2 days worth of school work in one night. Amazing what one can acomplish when one is disgusted with oneself. Today was about a 5.6 out of 10 for productivity.

Mark said...

Day 5: Meh. Some productivity, some procrastination. Productivity 7.3 out of 10.

Final Thoughts: Well, the experiment is over and so I thought I'd comment on how I thought it had gone. First of all, my hypothesis was kind of correct. My productivity, when we were keeping clean and organized did go up. However, as Jay reflected to me last night, this could be due to the fact that I was trying to be productive. I suppose a longer test would be more accurate. My new idea is that being clean and ordered is just one of the factors that can influence productivity. For instance, you can be really organized/clean but if you aren't motivated to work, you still won't. Also, are you having issues in other areas of your life? Are your goals impossible? Etc, etc. I now think of being clean/organized as a piece of the puzzle, but not all of it.