Does a Cluttered Desk signify a lack of focus?
I am constantly trying to clear my desk and constantly failing.
At the start of this year, when I had moved office, my desk set up was perfect. Screen, keyboard, mouse and speakers.
I looked at this vast flat white desk and the pristine black screen and speakers, trying to understand why that felt so good. Was it simply the clean lines, the black and white aesthetics — or was it something more fundamental?
Did the plain keyboard, mouse & speakers point to an uncluttered time, to a sole focus on doing one thing and doing it well?
Surveying my desk now is much longer process: A printer balances unsteadily atop a cassette desk. Two external hard drives sit vibration free atop scraps of bubble wrap. The DVD player hums quietly at the back of the desk. Three ‘phones, one battery pack and headphones occupy the space to my left. Between the keyboard and monitor now sits two packs of post it notes, one old mouse mat I can’t throw out, a Flash Gordon coaster and a box for unfiled receipts. A bright yellow toolbox at the far right of my desk is full of clutter that I define as ‘not urgent’ whilst to my right sits another coaster and a Rolls Royce mouse mat.
Does this clutter represent my life? Is the lack of purity on my desk a representation that may be I am trying to do too many things at once?
The tape deck is a reminder to digitise the piano recordings of my wife’s late father. The hard drives signify the vast collection of stuff I have collected from two businesses and twenty years on a computer. The DVD player is constantly whirring as I try to archive my vast DVD collection — in equal parts an attempt to reduce clutter and to assuage my guilt of not watching half the movies I’ve collected. The collection of post it notes are to remind me of urgent things that might get lost in the overall clutter.
Yet only the screen, the keyboard, mouse & speakers are the important elements. These are what drives these words, these are the means to unlock my future.
So, I should declutter, get rid of the notes, the drives, the decks and the notes to leave just the the screen/keyboard combination.
Will a return to focus deliver greater productivity, greater focus? Or, like sweeping things under the bed, will it just remind me of all the other elements that still need my attention?
What is your set up? Are you focused or cluttered? Do you think it makes a difference?