Someone else’s messy desk is completely different than my own messy desk.
Just because a workspace looks “cluttered” does not mean its unorganized. It may be highly organized to the person who put the stuff there, who knows exactly where everything is.
My wife thinks I keep the garage a mess. But I know exactly where everything is, and put the stuff where it makes the most sense to me. Things I need frequently are right there where I can see them. Things I need less often are placed in a logical area (to me) to get them quickly when I need them. Everything is in its proper place as far as I am concerned.
I hope she never looks into the cabinet where I keep the file server at home. (which looks more like an “exploded view” of a computer you see in a parts diagram)
Yeah, but this is the 1955 desk that he futzed unsuccessfully about unification theory for decades— I want to see the 1905 desk.
I used to keep my lab bench and fume hood spotlessly clean. Then a postdoc got the spot next to me and he treated any open space as his space. I got messy as a defense mechanism.
My desk is perpetual chaos (papers and computers and instruments and cables and hand tools and papers and dinosaur figurines and plants and doodles and forgotten cups of tea) and yet my mind remains impure. Explain that, doc!
… currently, my WFH/home office desk has roughly 97% of the surface covered with everything from napkins to art supplies, to tech, a 3-d printed dumpster with “2020” on the front face containing a handful of ball bearings, a couple posable reference figures, and my beloved red stapler.
My desk at the office is about 70% covered with assorted crap (mostly cables) from the various projects I’ve worked on the last two years; however, there are probably a handful of dried up whiteboard markers in the mix as well…
According to this I am at mad scientist level!
I can’t be bothered to look it up, but the it’s called the “volcano” system. Important things stay near the top, less important things slowly move down as other things are pulled out from beneath them. And everything is in there. Also, people that use this system (I was one) have a generally good sense of where things are because they will see some of them when they pull other stuff out.
Every now and then, usually during a break or when you get a wild hair (hare?) you kind of straighten it up a bit and throw away stuff on the bottom that you are sure you don’t need any more.
My desks at home and at work are covered fairly thickly with all sorts of things. Notebooks and stickies and pens, tools and hardware and bits and pieces of metal and rocks that I like to collect, little pieces of art that I found or made, and various other forms of gear and paraphernalia: computers, lava lamps, coffee cups, etc. I like getting it cleaned up sometimes, but I can work well with it this way. It looks disorganized but I know where everything is.
An old supervisor of mine once had a sign over her piles of stuff:
Neat people never make the fascinating sorts of discoveries that I do!
Cluttered and dirty are two different things!
Oh, I get it.
Yeah, I’m no fun at parties.
Edit to correct something. I forgot what already. Can’t find it now.
I find it a lot more comfortable to sleep on if I clean it off first.
There’s also a link to being able to hyperfocus or not. My desk has many layers of stuff, some of which I haven’t seen in a few years, yet when I stare at the computer it just all disappears. Unless I need something (which can take some hunting around).
Sounds about right. Additionally if you have a spatial memory you might put something a specific place because you were interrupted and set it down to be picked up again after you were finished.
I remember where I left everything in my messy desk because it is in that spot for a reason.
A trick I really like is, if I need to make sure I don’t forget to take something with me when I leave the house, I will put my car keys on top of it. Guaranteed reminder.
That is EXACTLY my situation!
Then I must be a fucking genius.
Apple & chocolate is a good combination.
Sleep under the desk for less interruption
What was the clean desk policy at the Swiss Patent Office?
Do a search on einstein+aspergers to find out about the sloppiness correlation.
Yes! That was my first response… I can’t work with other peoples clutter and noise around me.
But the mess on my desk has accumulated and can generally be divided into the stuff I need ‘now’, the stuff in potential for something now or soonish, and the stuff I can’t let go of being around that may come in useful or bring back memories.
Very much not into parting with things that don’t “spark joy” because more often than not sometimes that stuff does and sometimes it ‘spark’ a useful sorrow to negotiate.