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Cluttered desk, cluttered mind – clear desk……..

July 17, 2008

Oh my gosh. What a mess!!

Today is catch up, announce, sort through, throw away, and otherwise clear my desk so I can clear my mind.
Laurence Peter said, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” (Too funny. Yes, he is the originator of the Peter Principle.) I need to clear my desk regularly, however. It gets extremely messy, and then my mind starts to get blurry, too. Once the desk is clear, I can think about one thing at a time again. I have this conversation with my daughters regularly:

“Do not talk on the phone while you are driving. Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time.”
“Not true, Mom. I can do both at once! Watch.”
Nooooooooo, look out for that squirrel!”

You know that we can do something on automatic pilot while also doing something you are focused on, but you can’t focus on two things at the same time. It is not possible. You do not believe me? Then try this experiment from Aza Raskin:

Think about the about the taste of chocolate (that glorious silky rush of sweet earthy flavor) at the exact same time as you add 47 and 56. Really try. At the same time. If it makes your brain fuzzy in the way your mouth feels after you’ve had an unripe banana, you’re in good company: it’s impossible. You can switch back and forth really quickly, but you can’t actually think about both things at the same time.

I really like the use of chocolate as part of this experiment.

Back to clearing my desk to unclutter my mind. If it is clean and orderly, I can take one task at a time from the pile that is organized according to due date, and I get a lot more done. Here goes with mental desk clearing, after which, I have committed to the physical desk clearing:

#1 New Banner!

I am pleased to draw your attention to my new banner, courtesy of my blog buddy, Deb at Vintage Moon Studio. There is also a button on the side bar if you are interested in visiting her site. Deb is a wonderful artist, and also has a store at Etsy with her fabulous artwork. If you are in the market for a new banner, send Deb an email. Not incidently, she is great to work with.

#2 The Coffee House Series.

I am very excited to have some cool, coffee house posts coming up in the next month. My number one (and pretty much only) addiction in life is coffee, especially if I am drinking it in a coffee shop. Whenever I travel, the first thing I look for is a coffee shop. I avoid chains at all costs – my experience has been there is little personality to be found there.

At my personal office – Alterra’s Humboldt Café, my first order of the day is always a cappuccino. After that, I will drink a couple cups of coffee. Afternoon is for tea. In the winter, at dinnertime, I can drink a whole pot of English Breakfast all by myself. A lovely Chai latte is good any time of the day or year. Combine caffeine, coffee house, reading and writing; I am in absolute heaven. Check out this You Tube video – this is how I start every, delightful day, thanks to the wonderful barista’s at Alterra.

Sorry, got sidetracked. Back to books.

First up in the Coffee House Series will be an interview with F. Scott Savage. Scott is the author of Far World – Water Keep, the first in a four part YA fantasy series. Scott is meeting me at my office at the end of the month, and a review of his book and the interview will be coming up the first week in August. There will also be a book give-away! Scott has autographed a copy of the ARC (advanced reader copy) that I will send to the contest winner. What is the contest? I haven’t figured that out yet; I’ll let you know.

#3 The Coffee House Series.

Sandra Balzo is the author Uncommon Grounds, the first in a delightfully funny series starring Maggie Thorson. Maggie owns a coffee shop, which is what first attracted me to this book. Coincidently, they happen to take place in Brookwood, a pseudonym for a suburb of Milwaukee. Sandra has also agreed to meet me at the Humboldt Café for a chat. I will post a review of the book the day before the interview is posted, in early August. The first book in the series, Uncommon Grounds, will also be given away in a contest. If you enjoy mysteries that make you laugh at the same time, be on the lookout for this.

That is it for the ‘announce’ part of my desk clearing. I will deal with the rest of the catching up, sorting, tossing, cleaning chores by myself. See what a nice clean desk looks like? Now I can really get something done. Or not. Here comes the dog with the leash in her mouth. Oh well.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2008 3:00 am

    I enjoyed seeing this picture of your desk, as mine is in much worse shape (misery loves company)!

    I have been thinking about ordering that exact book, Uncommon Grounds, and enjoyed reading what you wrote about it!

    Madame Monet, in Marrakesh
    Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine

  2. July 17, 2008 1:41 pm

    What a lovely writing area! And I agree – I tidy up everything before I start to write, although I do suspect that procrastination plays some small part in this… 🙂

  3. July 17, 2008 6:14 pm

    Procrastinate? Moi?

    Thanks for commenting, Litlove. This was good for a full afternoon of avoiding all else….. and you might notice that only one small area is in the final photo! I have more procrastinating to do this afternoon. It is a comfortable writing space – I am very lucky.

    I do recommend Uncommon Grounds, MMM. It is a lot of fun. Thanks for visiting.

  4. July 18, 2008 1:15 am

    Your desk cleaned up beautifully! I really need some modicum of order in my life and workspace, too.

    I’m so excited about your coffee shop interviews! Especially with Sandra Balzo, for I love that series!

    I have a neighborhood coffee shop which I love, but unfortunately don’t get to spend nearly enough time in. It’s all organic coffee and food, and there really is a difference in taste.

  5. July 18, 2008 5:34 am

    Hi Becca – the desk is clean, next the filing. I hate that worse than anything else. I am so glad you are up for the Sandra Balzo interview – me too! I love anything that has to do with coffee. My coffee shop uses all fair trade coffee and quite a bit is organic, and the bakery is to die for….. I have to be very careful about how often I indulge. Thanks for stopping.

  6. July 19, 2008 6:31 pm

    Love the before and after photos of your desk! Most of all I love your desk! I’ve been dreaming of one like that, one of these days I’ll find it.

  7. July 19, 2008 6:40 pm

    Hi Stefanie. I guess it is a big, old, library table. I have had it for 30 years, and it was old way back then! I think I found it in a resale shop. I built the shelving on top to fit all of my extraneous junk. The space is great because I do a lot of art and craft work, and I don’t have to clean up every time I take a break from a project…. I just move down the table a little bit to write.

  8. July 23, 2008 8:17 pm

    Love your desk, your wall color, and your new header. Very cool! Thanks for the extra big picture of the clean workspace…always fun to be a voyeur and peek at other people’s belongings. My desk/office area at home is a complete disaster due to filling it with basement items prior to the big air conditioner/duct work job. But…it has not been a few weeks and I haven’t gotten around to moving things back. It is getting to be a bit much and I need to spend some significant time this weekend getting things back in order!

  9. July 23, 2008 8:31 pm

    Well….. it looked like this for a couple days…… Problem is, my kids see a nice big open work space with lots of supplies for projects, and before you know it…..
    Oh well.
    At least you can turn the air coditioning on while you clear your desk. Do a before and after for us, voyeurs all!

  10. July 24, 2008 9:19 pm

    I will definitely be taking a before and after picture if only because it is so comical to see the mess I currently have in my office. Now it has certainly been messy before but my one thread tying me to sanity is that this is an unusual circumstance…at least I hope it is!!!

  11. July 24, 2008 9:27 pm

    I am waiting to see that post!


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