The Day I Decluttered
A while ago, while consulting one of those websites that has all the answers about productivity, life, the universe and everything, the internet gave me the following advice:
If you’ve got a pile of clutter on your desk, put it in a box and set it to one side. You’ll find out what’s important when you need to dig it out. When you’ve done with it, put it back and keep a clean desk. This will boost your productivity immeasurably, and make you a Better Person.
Okay, so I’m paraphrasing. And possibly exaggerating slightly. But only slightly. When I’d read this, I looked at my desk and realised it was a considerable mess, so this decluttering thing seemed like a good idea. I duly took all the detritus from said desk and put it in a box. This variety of items included a stapler, staples (wrong size), a selection of cables, half a packet of batteries, some rawl plugs, a blank DVD (or it may have been a CD and possibly not blank…) and miscellaneous other items too tedious to mention. I put the box on the floor where I couldn’t see it, and had myself a nice clear desk. Great, I thought. Let the enhanced productivity begin.
The thing is, a little time has passed and there’s now another pile of stuff on my desk: a component from the car my wife recently sold, a yellow measuring tape, some post-it notes, £1.15 in loose change, miscellaneous pens and pencils, bits of paper that presumably have something important written on them, a pile of mail that I need to deal with, the elastic band that held that mail together. There are also numerous other items too tedious to recount to you here, dear reader.
Having considered whether to put all this new cluttery stuff in the box, get another box, or get a bigger box, I’ve decided that, well, quite frankly it can all stay just where it is. The study of every half-decent writer I’ve ever seen has been a chaotic mess, so I’ll satisfy myself with the possibly delusional notion that this indicates potential on my part.
The previous box remains on the floor. It’s hidden under a roadmap, a couple of Jiffy bags, an empty DVD cakebox, a sleeping bag in a stuff sac, a two-thirds used ream of printer paper…
I’m a novelist and scriptwriter, Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow and Advisory Fellow, workshop lead and creative coach. Click here to get the lowdown on updates, insight into projects, and a look behind the scenes on creative stuff. You can also follow TFW on Twitter, or like the Facebook page.