It’s to a programmer like a pandemic to a society. It creeps up on you. Slowly. There are some tiny signs of it at first but… who would bother? Then it becomes more and more obvious but to an untrained eye, it still seems ignorable. I mean, it’s not like it’s that bad, right? Life’s a bit harder: it gets harder to focus, things are getting a little bit out of control, few bugs here and there creep into the application. But for sure, that can’t yet justify the effort that would have to be applied to resolving it, can it?

Until – in case of a pandemic – we wake up as a society with overloaded hospitals, a badly-hit economy, and a lack of organizational structure to deal with the exponentially arising problems.

It creeps up on you. Slowly. There are some tiny signs of it at first but… who would bother?

In case of clutter and disorder, a programmer wakes up with a couple of glasses, dirty plates, a few used face masks, unnecessary gadgets, a few useless cables, and an endless list of how-did-this-even-get-here items on their desk, laptop’s desktop overflown with icons and files that should have never made it to the front of his workspace, code-base with hundreds of ignored linting errors, and a general feeling that it would take more energy to sit down and put a few hours into the project than to pick up a new career.

If there’s one thing you should do today, let it be this: unclutter. Your desk, your computer, your project. And yourself. If you can, just pause anything else you’re doing right now, set a timer for 1 hour, and try to clean as much of the unnecessary mental barriers that exist between you and the joyous motivation to write code that you hopefully still can remember is possible. Your future self will thank your now-you. Trust me.

…a general feeling that it would take more energy to sit down and put a few hours into the project than to pick up a new career

Not enough time? Do the same thing tomorrow. First thing in the morning. Start your day by offering yourself the gift of a clear, uncluttered work environment that will surely translate into higher efficiency, less stress, and ultimately a happier life.

If you have previous practice meditating or practicing mindfulness, I believe it is helpful to try to apply the same kind of techniques to observing when we decide to cut corners and start piling up the clutter that ultimately creates new corners – unnecessary obstacles to overcome. Try really paying attention to that feeling when you type “: any” to avoid having to come up with a type for that variable or when you sit down to work in a dirty workspace instead of decluttering and cleaning it first.

Start your day by offering yourself the gift of a clear, uncluttered work environment that will surely translate into higher efficiency, less stress, and ultimately a happier life

And then try to observe how pleasurable it is and how positively it affects your motivation when you feel that your workspace and your code are clean. How good it feels when all your TypeScript variables explain their structure upon hovering. How calm your mind is when you sit down at a clean, spacious desk with that beloved cup of warm coffee. How good life feels when you are the one in control.


Here’s a quick challenge for you: post in the comments a picture of your desk or your laptop’s desktop (or both) right here right now. Without cleaning or changing anything 🤨🧐😀