When I was kid, I remember going to my dad’s office in Burlington, MA at the FAA center. He had a desk in the corner overlooking the office plaza. I also remember seeing this sign on his desk and laughing at the time. Yes, his desk was a mess!
But years after his passing and going through some of his things, I came across the sign. It’s now on my desk as a reminder of his hard work and his easy-going sense of humor. But every time I look at it now, I’m conflicted.
Why? Because my desk is clean and clutter-free! A laptop, extra monitor, microphone, lamp, pen and paper….and now, a sign. Soooo, is that a bad thing? Does that mean I have an empty mind? Well, I’m sure I’ve had those times where some would think so but it can mean a whole different mindset.
Admittedly, my room growing up was pretty messy, but over the years, I gradually shifted to having less and less items around me. Maybe it was the military part of my wife and I after moving so many times. I may have already been a little OCD, but it was certainly amplified during the military. Perhaps it was more of a dislike for the cluttered house we had growing up. We weren’t hoarders but you certainly had to dig through a lot of stuff to get what you needed – if you could even find it. I don’t ever recall the stairwell NOT having a bunch of miscellaneous stuff on at least a few steps. Talk about a tripping hazard.
Through dorm life, I enjoyed showing off a lot of nick-nacks and fun stuff in my dorm rooms but things were fairly organized. Even transitioning to homes, our style continued to shift to less and less stuff.
NOT EMPTY, JUST SIMPLIFIED
To me, clutter is stressful. Too much stuff staring me in the face distracts me from my work. Staying organized is critically important to me. Even if I have a lot of stuff, knowing where I can find it – and quickly – helps me do my job much quicker and easier. Why make finding things
There is something to be said about maintaining spaces that put your mind at ease so that you can focus on the task at hand. You can still have plenty of thoughts and ideas floating around but knowing I can focus on following through with those ideas quicker and easier, and in more relaxed surroundings, is worth…
Clutter-free is sanity for us. Why make finding a simple item so difficult when it is buried in a room or closet? Of all the talk these days about shedding negativity in one’s life – how about shedding the stress of clutter and disarray?
My wife and I enjoy having a clutter-free living areas in the house. We’ve been spending a big part of this season going through tubs and boxes from the basement and storage areas and finally lifting the burden of having it all pile up. While we see more space opening up, we’re also rediscovering old momentos and sentimental items that we haven’t seen in years.
Furthermore, all of the unused items in our house are being given to new homes or donated to organizations who could use them. Some of my old flying gear is being donated to a local flying school. Online town pages are a great way to help your neighbors without tossing things in the trash.
My mind is cluttered with all sorts of things too, but there is something to be said about working smarter, not harder too. And having a clear desk or work area so that I can focus on the task at hand is just as smart.
So with an even more clutter-free home and a nice, clean desk, I stare at this sign and believe that, NO, an empty desk does not signify an empty mind. It’s a more efficient mind.