I need a minimum level of disorganized mess to get meaningful results.

It’s hard to type that. I don’t want it to be true. I hate messes, disorganization, tons of balls in the air. I like minimal, clean, organized, prioritized, listed, ranked stuff. “Delete, Shred, Destroy” is one of my mottoes.

The problem with my compulsive organization and integration habits is they kill progress if they go too far. When I have a flurry of ideas, it builds up productive pressure that seeks an outlet. If I immediately record, organize, de-duplicate, list, schedule, and assign every idea, the pressure is relieved. It’s necessary to translate the ideas into something more legible and actionable, but if I do it too well there’s no pressure left to push me to dive in. Making a list can become a substitute for completing the items on it.

I’m trying to reign in my drive to organize every impulse. I need some ideas not written down. Some processes not documented. Some conflicting hypothesis unresolved. I need to create the space for my subconscious to do some of its magic, and not let my lists suck all the juice from the creative act.

I can only tolerate a very small amount of messiness. But I need at least some minimum level to keep the pressure high enough to produce.

My maximum mess threshold is near zero (this very moment, I’m adjusting my phone on my desk to be exactly parallel to my laptop because the chaos of it being askew was clouding my ability to write peacefully). But my minimum mess threshold is greater than zero.