Tidy Desk Tidy Mind

Tidy Desk Tidy Mind

Does a tidy desk really equal a tidy mind? Or is it just that the open, expansive space feels more relaxing? Rife with possibilities.

A few weeks ago I read Getting Things Done, by David Allen who thinks a tidy desk definitely correlates with a tidy mind. I’d heard about his system, often referred to as GTD, and thought it sounded convoluted.

Now that I’ve gone back to the original source, I find it’s more of a system of highly specific contextual to-do lists. With a handy four page checklist of things you might have forgotten.

Interesting, but a lot of work to get set up.

But on a day when you just don’t want to do anything, very appealing.

So I’ve spent the last eight hours sorting out some of the stuff in my Libarary, and I understand now why he suggests taking a couple of days to go through all your stuff.

I’m nowhere near finished, and my desk looks worse now than it did before.

Which he did predict.

But I do have an overflowing recycling bin, and reduced the number of piles by two.

It’s amazing what you keep.

You know the kind of thing, all the little bits and pieces you collected so long ago you’re not entirely sure why.

Some of it’s easy; add contacts to your address book, appointments to your diary, and reminders to call or write to people on your to-do list.

Some of it’s hard; like the magazines you can’t remember why you bought them. Or the cryptic notes you have to decipher before you can decide what to do with them. And all the print outs from three projects ago.

And while I haven’t finished, I do feel slightly less frantic.

I haven’t done the filing, or made the phone calls, or written the letters. But I do know where they are, so when I have time, it will be a simple matter to whip them out and gte them done.

So, do I carry on tomorrow? Or do I wait until I feel like it?

Probably both.

Tidy Desk Tidy Mind
Mrs. Daisy Bates at her desk in Adelaide, South Australia, 1941. Photo by Darian D Smith.
published in the Argus newspaper 7 Jan 1941 and the australian womens weekly 28 Sep
via state library victoria

For those who don’t know, Daisy Bates (1859-1951) was an ethnographer and welfare worker among the aboriginal peoples of Western and Southern Australia.

She documented a great deal of information, but held some controversial views. Even at the time. Her mind was compared to “a well-stocked but very untidy sewing-basket.”

She is chiefly remembered for refusing to update her Victorian wardrobe, and her controversial book The Passing of the Aborigines.

You can find out more about her work here.

For more Haiku, click here.

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