The past couple of weeks I’ve been tackling a variety of projects around the house – from installing new faucets on the sinks in the master bathroom to doing minor plumbing work on my pond to get the waterfall working again. Â As I’ve been doing these projects I’ve been taking the time to clean things up a bit – cleaning out the clutter under my bathroom sink (and on the bathroom counter), Â weeding around the pond and cleaning up the yard (still a work in progress), etc.
Through these efforts I’ve begun to notice a greater appreciation of clean and minimalist ideals. Â Put simply, I like it when things are clean and not cluttered. Â This goes for not just my bathroom sink and landscaping – but for everything. Â I get frustrated at the cluttered, slow, clunky and sometimes confusing interfaces on most TV / Cable providers. Â I get annoyed when I see marketing materials that try to cram in every buzzword possible instead of being clean, clear and concise. Â I abhor applications that eschew clean and easy interfaces for the sake of cramming in unnecessary (and ultimately unused) features and options.
A couple of weeks ago I ran across a proposal for a remake of Adium, the popular IM client for Mac. Â Titled “Adium Reborn“, Â I instantly fell in love with the clean and minimal interface. Â There would be nothing to get in the way of using the app – exactly as it should be.
The more I think about and consider this line of thinking, the more I realize that when I go through periods where finding motivation is difficult, I allow clutter to pile up around me. Â The clutter makes it ever more difficult to be motivated and to find inspiration. Â It frustrates me. Â I avoid it like the plague, and in doing so allow it to get worse – perpetuating the cycle until something gives and I can’t take it anymore.
The solution for me – inasmuch as there is one – is to recognize this cycle and identify it when it’s happening. Â I need to deal with the clutter early and with aÂ vengeance to short circuit the cycle and – with any luck – find further motivation and inspiration to do more.
Professionally, as a product manager, Â I should strive to push the teams I work with to produce products that are clean, simple and effective. Â The product should never get in the way of doing the work.
If it does, we’ve failed.