(spring) cleaning my desk

It’s official.

I won’t have to clean my desk over spring break.

A Perfect Mess explores “The Hidden Benefits of Disorder – How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and on-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place.”

I’m very relieved. Rebecca, a former student picked this book up and recommended it. “I would rather reinforce my messy behavior than stress myself out by trying to fix it,” she says. “Turns out, the authors were all for that.” The book confirmed her “long held belief that being organized wastes a lot of time.”

It’s so much simpler to just close the door.

Not everyone is so sure. The book only gets 3’s and 4’s on ratings like Goodread and Amazon, but of course they let the neatniks vote. Conner, whoever he is, says, “For being a book about the ‘hidden benefits of disorder’, the authors seemed to have gained none of them while writing such a poorly organized and presented book.”

I think he is just bitter.

The author, Eric Abrahamson, is the youngest ever full professor of management at Columbia University’s School of Business.

Sure, he’s young. But I’m pretty sure I would rather have lunch with him than Conner any day. He even wrote Change Without Pain. Pretty much impossible, of course, but you have to admit this guy knows how to write a book title.

I can probably write a book myself with all the time I’m going to save. I was thinking maybe How to Fake ADHD.

But instead I’m going spend the time reading Organizing for the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time, and Reaching Your Goals by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping.

Nels Highburg, reviewing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, says this book helped him understand why desk drawers are evil. And he is absolutely right. How can you think about it if you can’t see it?

I’ve tried the whole Getting Things Done bit, but David Allen has nothing on these guys. Except maybe a name you can remember.

The whole world of color-coded folders is not for me. Only touch a piece of paper once? Seriously?

If I didn’t touch a piece of paper ten times I would never know where it was.

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About wally metts

Wally Metts is the daysman. He is director of graduate studies in communication at Spring Arbor University and is a pastor at Countryside Bible Church in Jonesville, MI. The father of four adult children, he and his wife Katie raise barn cats and Christmas trees in Michigan. His grandchildren call him Santa.

8 Responses to “(spring) cleaning my desk”

  1. I love it! I think I need to read this book … and if you ever write How to Fake ADHD I would totally buy it.

  2. I’m actually “bi-polar” about cleaning . . . swinging between just closing the door and frantically tidying everything in sight. The latter typically manifests just before the arrival of guests . . . 🙂

  3. I have never heard of books that help creative people organize!? I call my lovely mess organized chaos! I don’t lose things until I move them to “somewhere safe… I’m sure I’ll remember” *sigh* I think I need to get that book – if it works, my family will thank you!

  4. When you “clean” your desk it usually means there is a file marked, “Terri- Please file.” Sigh. At least the file will be neatly labeled with the LabelMaker.

  5. Very encouraging. Just what I needed. Feeling hopelessly scattered. Biggest fear: leaving my mess for my children to deal with. Ughhhhh!

  6. I’ll have to check out Organizing for the Creative Person. Throughout my life I’ve always been in trouble for a messy room/desk/locker/dorm/office, and I never have conquered it. Maybe that book can help me at least passify those who don’t value mess.

    I’ve wasted hours trying to stay organized, which usually results in losing everything I “put away.” Out of side, out of mind. I like having all my projects, clothes, books, pens and inspirations where I can see them. It’s the only way I won’t lose or forget about them.

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