A Cluttered Desk

There is an old joke that I usually find amusing: If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, what is an empty desk a sign of? I tend to prefer less clutter, but my default appears to be mild clutter. At times, however, things get out of hand and my desk becomes an outright mess. At times like these I can’t concentrate on anything else. I can’t focus on work, I can’t tackle items on my to-do list. It is all I can do to ignore the desk for twenty minutes to write an essay about it before I feel compelled to clean it up. Let me illustrate what I mean:

A cluttered desk

This is the “paper” side of my desk. I also have a “digital” side, which is a sit/stand desk and upon which are my various laptops and screens and not much else. I can easily pivot in my chair from one to the other, but I can’t work on my “paper” desk when it is in this condition. It is too cluttered for me and no matter what I do, I’ll be thinking about uncluttering it until it is actually uncluttered. This will intrude on every thought and activity I have throughout the day. I can’t emphasize enough what a marvel of will power I am demonstrating right now by writing this piece sitting beside the mess you see above.

What makes up all of this clutter? Among the things currently taking up space are:

  • A Cooperstown Getting Around Town pamphlet
  • 4 Maid of the Mist postcards
  • 5 Cave of the Winds ticket stubs
  • 2 Free Kids Meal coupons from out hotel in Niagara Falls that went unused
  • Tickets from the National Baseball Hall of Fame
  • A hotel receipt from our hotel in Niagara Falls
  • A “Welcome” sheet for our hotel in Auburn, New York
  • My “Line-a-Day”Leuchtturn1917 notebook
  • A fountain pen
  • AirPods in a charging case
  • 2 Field Notes notebooks
  • A watch
  • My current Mokeskine Art Collection A4 journal
  • My old glasses in a case
  • My Bose headphones
  • A Kindle Oasis
  • A stack of 9 partially read magazines
  • Two books
  • A stack of 4×6 index cards with reading notes
  • A pile of unidentified miscellaneous paper
  • A toy bathtub
  • A couple of business cards
  • Two quarter
  • A roll of scotch tape
  • Various medications
  • A ribbon
  • Various charging cables
  • A can of A&W Zero Sugar root beer

How did my desk ever get this cluttered, especially since I’ve been gone for the last week? The problem is that I can’t think when my desk is cluttered like this. I can’t write in my journal because I’ll see the mess. I can’t take care of other chores because the mess is calling to me to be cleaned up. I can’t–

An empty desk

Sorry, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get things a little decluttered before I could continue. It may be that a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind and therefore, and empty desk is a sign of an empty mind, but without that empty mind, apparently all I can focus on is the cluttered desk.

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