Everyone says I should clean up my desktop, along with the surrounding clutter. After all, it only takes two days to get to my desk, so what’s the problem?
I know, I know. We authors need space in which to work—neat, uncluttered space. On a personal note, I’ve misplaced a printout or two in that vast stretch of territory I call my desktop. So there’s no one to blame but myself for such disorganization.
I am making progress, however. These days, you’ll see fewer sheets of 20-weight, 92-brightness strewn across my office floor, requiring visitors to watch their step. Thanks to my latest round of tidying up, many of those scrap pieces got tossed into a pile labeled “To Be Shredded.” I mean, who needs phone numbers and business information of editors who have since gone out of business? This fact signaled a major celebration—with a touch of white zinfandel on the side.
Starting with my desktop, I’ve come up with a few tips to help avoid desk clutter or at least bring it down to an acceptable level:
- Don’t set something down and tell yourself you’ll file it later. Find a home for it now—even if it’s a hastily marked manila folder that gets tucked away in a file cabinet somewhere.
- Choose one area of your desktop at a time and concentrate on that area, be it the overloaded box of office supplies, a pile of reference books, or the ceramic vase filled with dried out marker pens.
- Rather than taping or affixing sticky notes all over a desk shelf, hang strips of colorful duct tape about a foot in length, then adhere your sticky notes to those strips, one just above the other. Your desk will appear more organized and might even show the world that your colorful area is a fun place to get some work done.
I’d like to leave you with one thought. As you go about straightening your workspace, remember this: you control clutter; don’t let clutter control you.