I see a lot of messy desks. And sometimes my own desk is messy. I’ve come to believe that the key to having a truly clear desk is to be really careful about what you actually store there. When you clean off your desk, you want to have plenty of clear space on which to work. For me, all that clear space gives me a sense of peace while simultaneously motivating me. When your desk is cleared off, how clear is it really?
A week ago I received a call from a local TV reporter asking if he could come to my home office the next day and shoot an interview about paper clutter. Of course I said yes. Then I looked around my office. There’s nothing like the prospect of a TV camera coming into your office to make you look at it with a critical eye.
I spent a little time that evening tidying up. Some items had migrated to my desk top and I removed them. Some papers and business cards and post-it notes had found their way to my monitor stand. Just focusing on the desk for 15 minutes or so allowed it to be TV ready. I bought some tulips and added them.
Here’s a photo taken just after the TV reporter left.
On my desk, I store:
It’s funny. Now that I’m looking at this photo and listing all these things, I realize that some just live there because they always have, not because I use them regularly. I think I’ll remove the push pins and the straight pins, as well as the business card holder. And I definitely could take a bunch of pens out of the pen holder so it’s easier to use.
Maybe it’s time for you to take a critical look at your desk top. Does it contain only items that you use regularly or that make you really happy? For me, the clearer my desk top, the clearer my mind.