“A cluttered desk means a cluttered mind.”
That old saying has special meaning to us, because whenever we’re working, our desk soon becomes filled with maybe a dozen different projects. Our thinking is literally going in that many directions. When a phone call or another interruption comes, we will forget where we were before, sometimes not ever returning to it before day’s end.
“An empty desk means an empty mind.”
Usually, given as an accompanying statement to the first, this one is typically a putdown to those who always have an immaculate workplace with everything in just the right place. There’s very little showing anything being in progress at the time. Yet, we do have a strong admiration for those, even though we don’t think they really do that much.
Certainly, there’s some truth to both statements. And, they both apply to us, in a sense as well.
We hate a desk piled high with so much in progress, but it is a true outward sign that we are involved in lots of undertakings. Of course, there are the bad sides to it. We don’t get the initial job completed, and we often waste time searching for things in the depths.
Worst feeling comes though, when others make a derogatory comment Â about the mess on our desk. That strikes a prejudiced sore, because we really are a neatness and cleanness freak. Consequently, we never leave our office at night without the desktop completely clear of everything except a telephone and computer.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t stacks of unfinished business stored away in another corner, or a desk stuffed full of items that need more attention. Problems arise when we fail to go back to that work list the next day, even though we were certain we would when they were shoved that way. Nasty thing about it, again, is we forget them.
So, that brings up another point: “Out of sight, out of mind.” We’re generally thinking of something, but not what we were thinking at the close of the previous day. Lists of tasks-to-do have always been important to us, yet they’ve been kept on scatterings of papers, often misplaced and then not found until it’s too late.
Our new boss insisted we have a day-planner and keep it with us at all times. After losing one after just a few days on the job, we have one intact and always at our side. Going back to style-of-college-life, we accompany that with a one-inch-thick spiral notebook for the rest of our notes, thoughts, names and numbers, as a reference as well.
In retrospect, our mind may always be cluttered, and we may seem empty-brained to others, but we’re always thinking about the never-ending things that should be done. Making it even more burdensome are our ideas of new things to do. Even our dreams are often of past and future tasks, but we can’t remember them after we awake.
Comments of our work style make us remember Job 30:13: “They break up and clutter my path; they urge on my calamity, even though they have no helper.” Again our reprieve comes in Second Samuel 22:25: “Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His sight.”