Have you ever had that feeling, when you have work to do, but instead you get the urge to tidy up room, rearrange your desk, or even sweep your office?  And when you give in and start cleaning, you find that you feel better? Well, you’re not alone… :)

Actually, I remember often feeling like that during high school and college, especially when I had to study for quizzes or exams. Now that I’m working, it still happens when I have to deal with deadlines or difficult projects. Everything else feels perfectly normal; it’s just that suddenly my desk looks like it needs to be dusted, or the vacuum cleaner suddenly looks a lot more fun than my chemistry textbook…

Naturally, this has cropped into conversation with my friends, and I think I’ve posted about this habit of mine on Facebook and Twitter. More than once, I’ve heard guys respond with something along the lines of, “Pfffft, women.” But let me assure you, gents, plenty of guys I know do the same thing. Only they usually prefer tidying up their work space, washing their cars or motorcycles, or dusting off electronics instead of picking up a broom. We’re not that much different, Mr. Macho-guy… :)

Anyway, I believe that this urge to clean when we’re under pressure can actually help us cope with stress. Within limits, of course—if we missing a deadline, we’re going to end up stressing ourselves out even more. But especially for us office folk, sweeping, dusting, scrubbing, reorganizing, and tidying up (especially when we actually don’t have to and can do so at our own pace) can actually be a refreshing change of pace from our work routines. And the end result, be it a cleaner bathroom or an uncluttered desk, can feel genuinely satisfying. To put it in fancy terms: we humans are programmed to enjoy ‘creating order from chaos’.

So, next time you hear about me using up my free to clean the bathroom, don’t worry: I’m having fun…



January 2017
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