“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?” — Albert Einstein
I was so happy when I ran across this quote several months ago. My desk is so cluttered that I usually work on my couch. There’s no space for my laptop on my desk.
I’ve struggled with clutter from the day I got my first apartment on my own. And now, Albert Einstein suggests not only that it’s okay, but that my desk should be cluttered. I tried to rejoice in this news.
But ultimately, I couldn’t. Because although my entire house (with the minor exceptions of my dining room and a bedroom, both of which are never used) suffers from clutter, I am not at all at peace with it.
My life is pretty hectic. And 99% of the time, I choose playing with my kids over cleaning my house. I’m comfortable with this decision, but not comfortable with the state of my house. My home office bugs me so much that it’s become more of a storage room than a work space. Feng Shui experts could make a career out of me.
Why can’t I be at peace with my cluttered house? Because I think the snappy little saying is actually true. A cluttered house is the sign of a cluttered mind. In fact, I know this. Because when I reach my bursting point — or when my ultra-organized sister comes to visit — and I de-clutter like a woman on a mission, I feel SO much better after I’m done.
I enjoy being in my house or sitting in my office in a way I never realized that I didn’t enjoy it amidst all the clutter. When my house is neat, I feel good. I don’t know how else to describe it. I feel good about myself. I feel more productive. I feel like I’m setting a good example for my kids. And, because a decluttered house is such a big task for me, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.
When I have a big project with a deadline, or am especially busy with a hundred different tasks, the urge to organize usually hits me the hardest. I’ve considered that decluttering may just be my way of procrastinating at work. But I think that really, I have a hard time organizing my mind to accomplish a big task at work when I’m surrounded by disorganization. It’s completely psychological.
So I’ve concluded that while Einstein’s quote is “cute,” it’s not something to live by. It’s not an “empty” desk or house I’m looking for, but an “organized” one. Because an organized desk is the sign of an organized mind. And that’s a good thing.
If you’ve been through my success course, you know I require that you work at least 30 minutes a day on self improvement. And yes, your 30 minutes can occasionally be satisfied by creating some empty space on your counter tops. Because it will make you feel good and happy. And that’s self improvement.
JENNIFER HERNDON works at home with her kids. She has been enjoying the time freedom and financial rewards of working from home for over 11 years. Jennifer’s passion is empowering you to success through a positive mindset and consistent action. Discover the Seven Simple Success Steps in Jennifer’s free mini-course.