Everyone should have a goal in life. One of mine is to keep my desk tidy. Everywhere else in my house is fairly orderly. Not my desk. I have stacks of papers that I need to get around to filing or throwing out. Conference programs, pictures for inspiration, research notes, birthday cards. Every now and then I go into a flurry of activity and file and sort the stuff in the middle. Some of it makes its way into my file cabinet, some the trash, some into the growing piles on either side of my work space. The mess is never completely vanquished, and always it returns.
My best friend used to have a sign that said, “A messy desk is the sign of a creative mind.” I could never get behind that sentiment, despite the chaotic state of my own.
The feng shui and decluttering folks would probably say the condition of my desk is a reflection of my life. I don’t think I can refute that. Most of my life is in good shape, but both my desk and my career have been a little unfocused of late. I do know that I feel calmer in an uncluttered space, if for no other reason than that I’m not looking up from my work to think, “I really should clean this place.”