Clear your desk to Clear your mind This is going to be a short post compared to our previous posts. Let’s talk about desk cleanliness and why having a clean desk can allow a much more level frame of mind when starting and working on projects.
I had asked on twitter how tidy people normally keep their desks. The sample is small due to a smaller following of people and the results are all over. Of the 12 people that answered 3 Have a really messy desk ( myself included) 2 have a bunch of stuff on it 5 have a neatly organized desk The remaining 2 have achieved that Pinterest-level of clean that allows for a better distraction free space. This may speak heavily to some and others may pass it off seeing that they have been working this way for a very long time. I’ve been working non stop at my desk for the past 2 months and recently found that I’ve been stressed out more than usual trying to get work done. It wasn’t my usual stress because I actually enjoy the hustle; I was working on finding what was wrong with my attitude. I started looking into making working at your desk easier on yourself. The first things I started to see were organization things like time management, and project management. Since I had a good system for those, I figured that couldn’t be the source of my anxiety and stress when working. The only other recurring theme was managing the cleanliness of your desk. If you do work at a desk, expect for things to pile up. Desks, for me, are a catch all. Meaning that I tend to put things on there to access soon. Things that I may need or do need but not right now. But spend too long without organizing and filing that work and you’re looking at a mountain of work to go through.
This is just the left side of my desk. Everything that sits here at your desk fights your consciousness for a little bit of attention. It’s one of the things that we have a very short supply of. Our focused attention should be towards our work and the important tasks on our list. I’ll be going through after work today and getting rid of all the stuff inside, on top of, and around to clear out the unnecessary things and create a clean space for me to work. I’ll start at the top down and left to right. But really, all of this has to go. What does a messy desk implicate about yourself? Really, nothing. A colleague of mine reminded me earlier today about a quote by Albert Einstein “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”― Albert Einstein This is subjective to the person and their productivity level. The argument here is against the level of distraction and unrest you’ll have if there isn’t a clear environment from the get-go. I find that when something is here on my desk, I’ll eventually be looking off of my work trying to think and instead start reading the random file on my desk or the back of the book cover on my desk. Or the calendar above me. It all serves as a distraction at some point in time. What can you do to keep on top of this in the future? Well seeing that I have had problems with this and need to create a system. Here is what I plan on doing. Set aside time and take everything off of my desk This will be important in starting off with a fresh and clear working space and allow me to file away and clear tasks I’ve been putting off for a while. Place only the things I absolutely need to get my work done back on the desk The things that I use constantly that need to be there: My sketchbook, my notebook for articles and thoughts, pens and my computer. Everything else can go. Start an “Inbox” Take a bin of some sort and set it on or next to your desk, as you get new physical items throughout the day that may need to be addressed. Set it in the “inbox”. If you can process whatever it is within 2 minutes, get it done. If not, set an allowance of time after a certain amount of work to clear it out. Empty it at the end of the day and start each day with a clear inbox This will be the most challenging part of my day. Making sure that inbox is clear for me to start fresh each morning. I’ll come back and revisit this topic after a few weeks of trying out my system here. Call it a check-in to continue this productivity topic later. Darian Rosebrook is the Design Lead over at keyspark.io His creative eye is driving us forward as an ever-growing, ever-improving brand. You can follow our articles here on medium or join us on twitter! @keyspark_io