You clean up nicely!

by. Jimmy Marks

It’s time I confessed something to you, dear reader: I’m a clutter-bug.

I’m a scatter-brained, right-handed mess-maker. My desk, where I sit and write these words you’re reading now, is littered with papers and books and coffee cups and knick-knacks. There are pens and markers and paper clips and phone chargers and pictures everywhere. And this is how it looks when it’s in a state I like to call “organized”.

I’m not the only one, though. According to this nice article about messy desk and genius (ahem), Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Alan Turing, Alexander Fleming, and Steve Jobs all shared my “messy desk syndrome”. And while I like to think I’m as big a genius as the men behind penicillin, the theory of relativity, Tom Sawyer and the iPhone, I could probably benefit from a thorough tidy-up day. So, why not today?

I start by making a few little piles. One is “stuff that needs attention,” one is “stuff I should hold on to, but probably don’t need right now” and one is “garbage.” I take a look at all the paper on my desk, piece by piece, and I figure out where it should all go. When all my piles are stacked up, I take care of each according to their importance.

It’s a nice little exercise and it helps you figure out where your projects are in terms of process. Better yet, it can be repeated in many ways. I did the same thing to all the files on my desktop, then all the files in my documents folder, then all the files in my downloads folder. The old stuff, I set aside. The new stuff, I checked over. If it wasn’t needed, I sent it to recycling. If it was needed but not right away, I saved it to a separate storage drive.

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