On hoovering

I can’t work if the floor is dirty. Flakes of paper and flecks of dust on the carpet impair my concentration.

I work from home on most of my projects. I enjoy it, and feel productive. The commute from bedroom to study never includes passive-aggressive proximity with another commuter. I avoid all office politics, fridge wars and mug rage. But my office doubles as a home. Therefore, it gets dirty faster – and I don’t have an invisible night cleaner to fix it for me.

The floor is the weakest point. My house has dark blue-grey carper, where breadcrumbs and paper stand out sharply. But cleaning the floor is many steps more complicated than wiping the breakfast table. I have to go to the bathroom, grab the vacuum cleaner from the corner, plug it in the living room, and hoover the floor.

Today, after an early stretch, I felt a block. I gathered my notebooks into my back and headed out to nearby Stellini Cafe for a short productive stint on planning two coming meetings. After a 45 minute burst of efficiency,  I didn’t linger. The table was small, there was no Wifi, and I had things to draft in Google Docs.

As soon as I got back in, my energy vanished. I knew the floor was the cause.

Often, irrational needs keep us from moving ahead. Often, we refuse to acknowledge our own irrational needs, and try either to negate them, or rationalise them. Meanwhile, we don’t accomplish much. There is no deep rationality why specks of dust and breadcrumbs on the floor prevent me from focusing on stuff. But I can take it as how things are – an arbitrary fact about my own mind. It takes only five minutes to clean, and doubles up as a work out. So – why am I regularly not doing it?

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