Don’t Tidy Up Your Desk – the best way to motivate yourself

An untidy desk is the best motivator ever.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not pro-mess, anti-decluttering or even a maximalist (btw, there is such a word but not how I am using it. lol) as oppose to a minimalist. I am actually all for those concepts.

What I mean is that, at the end of your working day, don’t clean up your desk so that you can do it the first thing in the morning when you get to work. Tidying up your desk in the morning before work doesn’t take much effort. In fact it will take the same effort if you were to do it the evening before, trust me 🙂 So, why in the morning and not at the end of the day.

Well, the small effort that you take goes a longer way in the morning than in the evening. Seeing a mess in the morning gets you to be in action. In the morning, this small effort allows you to quickly focus and be grounded; sort of a quick meditation. It will also lead to you first accomplishment of the day. Albeit a small one, it is a very important one. This minute accomplishment allows you a quick easy win. And we all know what a win can accomplish; excitement and motivation.

At the same time, seeing a clean desk that you just did, give you a sense of inner peace at the start of your work.

Tidying up in the evening before going home, doesn’t have as much benefit as in the morning because you are already unwinding. You don’t need to be motivated for that. Yes, it achieved the some of the same results as in the morning but not as much.

This is the same concept as making up your bed every morning that I have practice since I was young. This is one of the best habits I have acquired in my boarding school days. The military is also famous for this habit.

Therefore, leave you desk cluttered at the end of the evening so that you will motivated at the start of your morning 🙂

Reflective Practice as a personal growth tool

According to Wikipedia, reflective practice (RP) is the ability to reflect on one’s actions so as to engage in a process of continuous learning. RP involves paying critical and deliberate attention not only on past actions and events, but is taking a conscious look at emotions, experiences, actions, and responses, and using that information to add to his or her existing knowledge base and reach a higher level of understanding which will lead to developmental insights.

I find this to fall short in explaining what RP is because it only involves the present and past domain but not of the future.

At this juncture, you must be saying to yourself “How can you reflect on the future? It sounds like an oxymoron!”

Well, yes and no. Yes, if you are looking at reflection in its purest sense of the word. And No if you are taking reflection in its context. Contextually, reflection is contemplation. It involves looking at something that bounces off some form of surface or platform. It has a connotation of relating what you ‘see’ to yourself. And in this instance that you can reflect on your future by bouncing a notion to yourself regarding a future state. An example would be reflecting on your values and idealism within a contemplation sphere of what might be. This might involve reflecting on a question such as “What would your ideal day look like?” This kind of RP can be really powerful especially in designing a future state; personal growth tool.

This will fit in nicely with the Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle where there is an element of future state in it.

Therefore, RP covers the three domain of what we call the ownership model of Past, Present and Future.

Begin with an end in mind is only the 3rd step

Reflective Meditation at Ullen Sentalu Museum

Conventional wisdom says that we should start the year with some goals or resolutions. I have a different take. I say we should start and end the year with reflection. Only when we have undergone our reflective practices should we start setting a goal and then start the planning with the goal/end in mind as we design our action plan.

Sometimes, reflection is done in the most deliberate of ways like a guided journal page or gong through a set of questions or even facilitated sessions. Sometimes, reflection happens at the spur of the moment; impromptu. Which ever way you arrive, what is important is that you reflect. Recently, in my recent family vacation, a pleasant reflective moment happened in the sweetest and gentlest of ways.

During my recent visit to Yogyakarta, Indonesia to visit the Borobudur, I also took in a private museum by the name of Ullen Sentalu in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta. It is a museum dedicated to the life and times of the royal family of Yogyakarta. In the many exhibits, housed in quaint little rooms made of Mount Merapi lava rocks, was a room dedicated to about 29 letter written by cousins, nephew and relatives of a particular princess by the name of Tineke. These hand written letters in Dutch was wall mounted with translations of the text displayed below those images. These letters were written to console Tineke that was recently heartbroken. Isn’t it a gentle, sweet notion?

Among the letters, there was one in particular that struct me to be very unique in its approach of consoling. The content invites Tineke to reflect, be forward looking and be in action. This was done in a most gentle way.

I find the series of reflective questions to be useful even for me; even till now. It has an almost meditative chant to it.

Let me reproduce the letter below and hope that you could also use them to reflect as we plan ahead for our 2019.

Yth sepupu,

Ada baiknya melihat ke dalam hati
Sejenak sebelum tidur
Apakah dari pagi hingga malam tidak
sebuah hatipun?
Apakah kamu tidak membuat mata
orang menangis?
tidak memberi kesusahan kepada
Atau apakah kamu telah mengatakan
kata-kata penuh kasih
kepada orang-orag yang tidak punya
kasih sayang?

Kenangan dari Koesdarmilah