I'm a tweaker. I'm constantly, perhaps compulsively, questioning my workflow choices, reevaluating my setup, my system. What apps I use for what, what computer, what phone, what to-do list or method for getting work done.
I rearrange my home screens, change my dock, add and take menu items. I try application launchers and text editors. I go back and forth, never settling, never quite confident that my choice is the best, the most appropriate, for my needs.
This could be simple procrastination, or it could be deeper than that: it could be an external manifestation of a personal dissatisfaction. Perhaps there's medication that would help. But there is something else that drives this, a constant obsession, one that ties neatly into my chosen profession: the obsession for elegance.
It's about making the pieces fit.
Even while a kid I would spend hours at a time re-organizing my comic books or my toys. I would take everything out and rethink how to do it better. I couldn't care less if the room was dirty, but I cared deeply if it made sense, if it was elegant.
This extends to all facets of my life. Even when playing video-games, particularly those where you create your own character (like roleplaying games), it usually means hours and hours of character creation, just to question my choices and start it all over. Sometimes the mere process of settling on a player character burns me out on the game itself. Not to mention strategy games like Sim City, where at the minimum deviation of my plan I just start all over again.
There was a teacher that told me, after I had abandoned two month's work on a project and redone the whole thing in a week, that there was something masochistic in this. He told me that I should learn to follow through with a project even if it wasn't perfect (because, as we very well know, nothing is). I academically, theoretically understood that. I accept it and have learned to apply it to my professional life.
But I'm not okay with it. Not truly. There's always that part of me that wishes that I could spend enough time on something to make it perfect, or as perfect as I'm able to do it. And the things that I'm unable to control, where the decision is out of my hands, I reject them or lose interest.
Maybe it's simple anal retentiveness. Maybe it's OCD. I don't know. I do know that it makes it particularly hard to collaborate on something, specially if who I'm collaborating with doesn't share my vision on the project at hand.
I imagine I'm not alone in this, particularly in this context of tech and design, usually populated with the dissatisfied, with those that see a problem they want to fix, an itch they want to scratch. It's the lifehacks culture, the setups and home screens, GTD and Inbox Zero. Of workflows and extensions and services. It's about productivity or lack-there-off.
But it's not. It's about the necessity for elegance in an inelegant world. To apply order to the chaos that governs us.
The world, in the words of Alan Watts, wiggles, and that upsets us. We can't accept our own wiggly nature, and our devices: our computers, tablets and smartphones are the antithesis of wiggliness. They are the physical manifestation of the analytical, geometrical mind, examples of the human triumph over nature, the epitome of the rational. The more we dive deeper into the marvels of technology the more we abandon the messy, squishy, inelegant core of nature, of life. There are no chamfered edges in nature.
And perhaps elegance can be found in the messiness itself. Perhaps I should just let it emerge.