Keep it Clean
A glass of water. A cup of coffee. A pencil. A black marker. A red marker.
And a massive pile of random papers from the current project, including several (un)necessary test prints, a ton of sketches, some containing crucial notes you made during the meeting, and a couple of papers from a project your friend is involved with and left them by your desk.
Maybe some raisins from the time you were picking out the good almonds away from the bad raisins and you made a mess. But somehow, when you are asked for a certain piece of paper, you manage to retrieve it in a matter of seconds.
That’s what I call well-organized chaos. And if you have made assumptions that I was describing my desk, you were partially correct.
A glass of water. A red marker.
And nothing else. I am also that type of person. Here’s the thing. I don’t like to half-ass anything. So, if it’s clean, it’s surgically clean. Monica from friends clean. And perpendicular angles. The screen aligned with the keyboard. The keyboard aligned to the mouse pad. And the mouse pad perpendicular to the desk. Everything neat and tidy. I start my day as a purist.
And I really do keep it up! For as long as someone doesn’t put something on my table that I need. It is either some scanned sketches from the meeting or some papers our secretary needs you to sign. Indeed, I could just pick the piece of paper up and dispose of it correctly, which I do, in theory.
Then again, I do get caught up in work. I have moments when I am literally hooked to the screen- I am playing a videogame, but mine is about rearranging the cyan and magenta lines so they start speaking a language of a perfect floorplan. The game is fun and exciting and I love it! And yes, when I finally look up, the cups have multiplied and somehow none of the papers got organized on their own and they just piled up. How rude.
Now I don’t know if a clean desk influences your workflow. Some people need the routine of order at all times. I welcome the chaos; it helps me to rethink what type of order do I want to establish each time around. And honestly, I do spot the growing pile of paper, it’s just that it is not on my priority list of the day. Did you ever hear of setting each morning your 3MVP3s?
MVPs are your three Most Valuable Priorities: those few activities that are worth five to ten times the value of all the rest of the tasks for the day. What do you base them on? Well, it’s really simple. What do you want to become? What is your goal for yourself? That image that drives you to do everything and anything in life really. The image of you you carry around. This image demands you establish some priorities, which I believe shall ultimately determine your success.
In short- each morning I think of my top three MVPs, my tools that will help me get a day closer to my future self. And for as long as cleaning isn’t getting a medal, I ain’t reaching for an apron. It’s that simple. I am okay with the cups.
I have heard that a clean desk means a clean mind. But in that analogy… shouldn’t it also mean an empty mind? Not saying that if you have a clean desk you actually have an empty head, but I do believe there isn’t a way you should have your desk to be. Don’t make it into a pig sty, yes, need to have it empty, I also don’t see a reason for it.
Ask yourself two things. Do you feel comfortable? Do you know what you are doing, and more importantly, why? If you have two positive answers, then why does it matter how anything really looks like on the outside?