Minimalist Work Environment

October 23, 2019

What’s preventing us from doing our best work? It’s not so much about what we don’t have, and more about what we do with what we have.

Buying more stuff is not the way to go about it. A developer doesn’t need more monitors for example: we can only do one thing at a time, and we can learn to better navigate through the interface by memorizing keyboard shortcuts.

Using a single monitor is a constraint we can use as an opportunity to increase our focus and our knowledge. Do more with what you have, until you can’t grow any further.

Simplifying our work environment is much more powerful. Clutter is distracting. Our best work reflects what’s essential about it.

Before you sit down to work, ask yourself: what is not needed in my current work environment to perform my task? Remove those distractions.

It might be a website - temporarily block it. Or a pile of documents on your desk - sort it, then store it. It could be a hundred tabs in your browser or cognitive tasks running in the background of your head - prune them away.

We are used to doing things a certain way and we rarely take time to reflect on how we work. We don’t need to change our entire methodology to get better, but we have to get back to its core. Otherwise, we get in our own way.