At first glance, the pic above – from a post by Mitch Goldstein, design professor at Rochester Institute of Technology – seems like just a funny take on how disorganised we can be with our project files, a bit like those shots of ultra-messy desktops. But actually it provides an interesting insight how we prioritise and feel about our work.
First priority are the things we have to get done right now, to hit that looming deadline or because we're being chased by our clients or boss. Next are the things we want to do, which are often less imperically important than the things we'd rather not do – the mundane, uninspiring or still-confusing, 'haven't got a handle on it yet' stuff.
Somehow we convince ourselves that the things we want to do are more important. And our ever-helpful brain also lets us conveniently forget about those tasks we'd really rather not do. We meant to get round to them, but somehow it never popped into our minds to do them.
And the last priority, the resources we carry from project to project but don't grow as we go. Our wide array of fonts and skills that we have but have difficulty finding time to expand, as there's always a more pressing need in front of us.
This pic reminds us that concentrating exclusively on business-as-usual is something we all do, but shouldn't. It's a good reminder of how we act instinctively – and once you're aware that's how you act, you can assess what you should be doing through that filter: concentrating on the truly important stuff.