Today I thought I’d show you a picture of my desk at work, so you can see what my perception of decluttering is!
Does it match your view of a clutter-free workspace?
Taking a look at this picture now, I can see there is room for improvement. The white item under the monitor is a ribbon from a present which a visitor to the office gave us, several months ago. After taking the picture, I realised it was no longer of value to me and threw it away. The grey item is an elephant statue from India, a souvenir from a colleague. It doesn’t take up much space and it reminds me of my colleague, with whom I work less closely now, so I’m happy to keep it. The yellow items are post-its. They are reminders for jobs which are ongoing at the moment but should be sorted in the next week or so. I could preserve the information more effectively in my Outlook calendar, and do so around half the time. As these jobs will be done soon, the post-its will be recycled so I’m not too concerned, but I’ll think more carefully about whether I need to write something on a post-it or can put it straight into Outlook in the future. This will of course also have an environmental impact.
The blue item on top of the PC is a voucher given to me unexpectedly by a colleague, and which has now expired, so I need to recycle that on Monday. The white bottle is hand cream, which I keep on top of the PC so I will see it and remember to use it, but I still rarely remember (less than once a day), so on Monday I’ll put that back in the drawer. I use the box of tissues frequently throughout the day and they’re on the top of the PC so they’re out of the way while I’m sitting at the desk, so they’ll remain.
On the desk itself, the phone, PC, monitor, keyboard and mouse are non-negotiable, and i don’t think I could tidy them up more. A wireless mouse and keyboard would look neater but they are not supplied by my work. The coloured item under the keyboard is a piece of handmade paper given to me by a visitor to the office. It’s in a laminating pouch, so it is wipe-clean. It doesn’t really serve a purpose and I wouldn’t say I’m greatly attached to it either sentimentally or visually, so I should probably get rid of it on Monday. The teacup and coaster are used frequently so they need to stay! The two plants were presents, and I brought them to work so they weren’t cluttering up the house. I could perhaps put them on the nearby windowsill so they are not taking up part of the workspace. But realistically I don’t stretch over to that corner of the desk for anything, and I like to see the plants, so they’ll probably stay there. The papers in the corner of the desk are papers I am currently working on. They go there during the day and get filed back in my desk drawer overnight, until I need to work on them again. Around half of them have been recycled or filed in the office filing system since this picture was taken. I haven’t had an in-tray for over a year, and I find that work is less likely to linger on the desk when it doesn’t have a comfy in-tray to call its home!
The pictures around the desk were all chosen as they have visual or sentimental value, and I keep them to brighten the place up and to give me something to look at if I want to turn away from the screen for a while and relax my eyes. Periodically I weed them out if I notice that a sentimental connection has waned, or I don’t like the look of them as much as i used to. The picture on the desktop was chosen as a mnemonic. A while ago, I identified my core values, and turned their initials into the word FLARE. The picture is a solar flare, so when I look at it, I’m reminded to review my core values. I think they’re easy to forget, and important to consider regularly as you can stray away from them and get wired in the minutiae of daily life, spending most of your time doing things which don’t have any value to you as a person. So the desktop picture will stay, and may be the most important thing on the desk.
Is your desk more or less clutter-free than mine? Do you have any storage or declutter tips for the work environment?