Late last week I started re-reading David Allen's Getting Things Done, now in a revised 2015 edition. When I originally read this book last year, it was perfectly timed to coincide with the total transformation of my life then underway. It helped me enormously to focus not only on how I wanted to work, but also live. This re-read comes at a time when clearly I needed a tune-up. Know how I know?
Because my desk was a mess.
For me: messy desk, messy mind.
I know that's not true for everyone. I, too, have seen studies correlating messy desks with greater creativity. <sigh> I wish this were true for me, but it isn't. A mess just means I can't settle. To anything. It means I'm not handling my shit. And nothing un-rests me more.
So this weekend I started bold. I stripped my desk completely. Removed every piece of paper, every note, every notebook. Cleaned the surface. Organized the stack of books that's always in my line of sight, that helps me fly right. Added a fresh-picked bouquet of flowers. Basically, gave my desk a much-needed make-over.
When I make my space, I make my life.
Maybe it's silly, but I just felt so much better instantly, like I was equal to every task before me. I was back where I belonged: in the driver's seat.
And then I decided: only one thing can be on my desk at a time, the thing I'm working on at that moment.
OK, so at first, when I initially stripped my desk down, there were a couple of stacks of stuff on the floor behind me -- a ridiculous mix of travel receipts, mementos, bills, actionable notices, old photos. But I did my GTD work, went through them, did my collecting, made my list of next actions, reduced them to almost nothing. Set myself the goal: back at zero before I leave for Fargo in a week.
Aaaaah, Zero: no To Do's cluttering my mind, no open, unresolved loops without an identified next action, no stuffing things I don't want to deal with. Zero = confronting the work of life head-on.
Zero = peace.
I'm beginning this week so much more organized, energized, productive. And free to be creative and think big. All thanks to a little thing like cleaning my desk, sorting paperwork and making lists. If your workspace is bringing you down, trust me: thirty minutes of clearing, setting to rights, making pretty, will do wonders for your will to work. Do it!
#makeyourspace #makeyourlife #doyourthing