It is always amazing to me to see how different people are able to function in different work spaces. As for me, I like there to be very little in my peripheral vision when I am writing or wrenching. Maybe I don’t flail my elbows around in a fit of “I’m on a roll,” but I like to know that I could if I needed to. It’s distracting. At the moment, my desk has:
- Can of salsa
- Tortilla chips
- Pink ribbon
- Business cards (3 or 4)
- Paint samples
- Unsent thank you notes
- My W-2
- 3 books
- Chalkboard paint
And that’s not even including the things that BELONG here, such as my toolbox, computer and typewriter (yes, yes, I know). And I know I don’t work well like this, but I’m constantly surrounded by it anyway. If I get rid of all this crap, more will arrive–of this I am sure. So instead I think I need a much larger space, so all my crap can look smaller by comparison.
I found this picture of the best bike shop in the world, or at least the classiest I’ve seen in a long time. It’s got a mixture of bare concrete, wide open walls and raw ceilings alongside old-world Persian rugs and hardwood furniture. It functions as both a bike shop and gallery. I could do some serious damage here. The office looks amazing as well.
Yes, this would work well. But the point is that we are all deeply affected by our environments. For some, the state of the physical surroundings is an indication of the mental landscape, and for others the mental landscape is shaped by the physical environment. Whichever you may be, it is at least important to know. Because while we have some control over our mental capacities, we have a much more profound and repeatable control over the crap on our desks. Even if you don’t need to swing your arms around while you are working, even if you don’t every once in a while stand up and twirl, flapping your wings like an idiot, it’s always good to know that you could, should you feel the need to.
This is an open invitation to declutter our minds, desks and lives. Throw it out. While memory is commonly regarded in a positive light (as in: the ability to recall people, facts, and events) it is prudent to be wary of nostalgia. Nostalgia is poison to the present and future; it is an anchor weighing you down, though you’ve thrown open your loftiest sails. It’s also a primary source of desk-crap.
So reduce, reduce, reduce! Clean your environment and clean your mind. The rest will follow suit.