You’ve arrived at work to a mess. It’s not the cleaners – sweet old Janice has done a good job on the carpets – but your desk instead. “Why is your desk so messy?” is a common question amongst your colleagues.
The disorganisation of your desk takes creativity, you argue. The layout of papers, pens and discarded coffee cups is not some happy accident, it’s the result of a long and complicated creativity process inside your mind. The situation you see in front of you is not a problem or an obstacle, it is the result of you putting something exactly where you wanted it to be and not where you think other people may want it to be. You’ve satisfied your own filing criteria and you know where everything is, you are in an enviable situation.
Let’s think about it for a minute. Ask someone to pull out last years tax return and they’ll open a drawer or cupboard, find the ‘correct’ file, go through the file in chronological order before realising they took out the document the last time they were asked for it – and have since filed it somewhere else. Is it in the file labelled ‘finance’ or the file labelled ‘tax’? Now imagine somebody asks you for the same document. No problem, you silently whisper, as you remember that the last time you needed it was exactly 9 months deep into your ‘mess’ and you pull out the document in seconds. Meanwhile, little miss ‘organisational’ has knocked her coffee over and is desperately searching for the napkins she probably filed away somewhere.
Of course, having a ‘messy’ desk is different than having a ‘clean’ one. You always want to have a clean desk – there’s no point finding that document if it’s covered in grease, dirt or dust. In your disorganised perfection, make sure that it’s routinely cleaned. Wipe away the rings from underneath your cup, dust the surface and remember that you thank Janice for keeping the office so spotlessly clean so that you can be a mess with the exact precision it requires.