My desk; my pride and joy, the central hub for many creative endeavours, always used to be the messiest and dirtiest desk in existence. I seriously doubt that there was any desk throughout the course of humanity that was less dirty than mine.
It was a land mine, all the way from my very first desk when I was three until moving to college, when the infamous messy desk stayed at home. It changed variably through the years as I got older and upgraded from notebooks to even bigger notebooks, easels, a desktop and eventually a laptop.
Now I had a desk at college and a desk at home.
As soon as I moved into my new room with my brand-new desk, it had been populated by a score of junk and shit that I didn’t even know I owned, much less needed. It was full of unnecessary items.
The desk stayed that way all throughout my first year of college. As the months wore on, it eventually became as messy and cluttered as my head was at the time, which wasn’t helping anyone, much-less myself.
Second year started and soon enough the messy desk returned until the beginning of 2018 when I made a conscious decision to flip a switch in my head.
That switch was called minimalism.
Over the next four months I encountered a way of thinking, focused on what was necessary and being intentional with those items as a guideline for what I possessed in my life.
I knew that part of the reason that my desk had grown so messy time and time again was that there wasn’t any real attachment to it. I began to feel that there was no connection, no sense of protection or will to preserve its cleanliness. This was when I decided to build my own.
That construction took time, three whole months throughout the summer. I bought the wood rough, planning every minor detail to help enhance my creativity and evoke the minimalist mantra I had since adopted.
I only built one drawer, wide enough to accommodate only what was essential and nothing else. I made it big too, so I could have more room to work and to challenge myself.
Human beings have a tendency to populate empty surfaces or spaces. That is after all, why we feel so uncomfortable when we walk into an empty room. We immediately start thinking about where the couches, the lamps, the tables, the carpets, the little accessories, the runners, the pet bed, the shelves, the planters will go. We see an empty countertop and sure enough, it doesn’t stay empty for long. Maybe five minutes if we’re lucky?
My challenge with this workspace was to create an expansive surface that would be dedicated entirely to productive work and creation, void of clutter and distractions.
If I have tools, such as pens, markers or rendering materials for my school work, they go in the drawer when I’m not using them. I’ll actively pull open the drawer if I need to use them, otherwise the desk surface is completely free of unnecessary items.
I only have eight things on my desk at any one time.
Fish bowl with Toothless, the Japanese Beta fighting fish.
I don’t have a clock and that to, is intentional. Time is often a distraction, taking us away from the real work at hand. We spend to much time wondering if we can get something done than we do actively getting it done.
I recommend you try it. Try clearing your desk completely, put everything in a box and take it out as you need. Whatever you don’t use in two weeks, ditch it or donate it. Odds are that you won’t use it again or even need it.