Are you old enough to remember the Partnership for a Drug-Free America commercials back in the 80s?
The pan full of sizzling hot butter — “This is drugs.”
Then an egg, being cracked open to drop in the pan — “This is your brain.”
Brain meets drugs and gets fried. “Any questions?”
When my workspace clutter gets out of control, I feel a bit like that. I can picture my brain being beaten with a wire whisk and then tossed into a pan of sizzling butter.
“This is clutter.”
“This is your brain on clutter.”
Does it sound like I’m being extreme?
Well, I may be exaggerating just a little, but seriously…
First let me clarify, I’m not talking about collecting or hoarding… I have no problem with getting rid of things. I was a regular at the local thrift store drop-off before we moved. And if I buy something and decide I’m not going to use it, I have no qualms about returning it or passing it on to a new owner.
No. I’m just talking about a plain, old messy desk. Unfiled documents, notes from the webinar I attended last month, receipts for the office supplies I bought last spring… that sort of thing.
Clutter can pile up in other spaces too. It comes in all shapes and sizes. Whatever form it happens to take, it can all affect productivity.
The Many Faces of Clutter
First, there’s physical clutter.
The papers, pens, and paper clips spread out across our desks (or mine, at least) are clutter, whether we want to admit it or not. We may know which stack to look through for that invoice, but if the desk is riddled with stuff, it’s still clutter.
Digital spaces get cluttered too.
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