This is not a description of my desk but the title of the seminar for translators I went to in Munich on Saturday. It was about keeping your desk tidy. Of course, an untidy desk is a symptom rather than a disease.
Here is a picture of a translator’s desk that looks a bit tidier than its title suggests. It’s probably the desk of someone who’s already attended such a seminar. In an ordinary office, we learnt, this pencil stand (Stiftbehälter) would be full of bent paperclips, rusty nails and pencils that no longer write. But I can’t see anything really extraneous, although the wall looks promising.
The trainer was Gunter Meier, who has a company website (more E+E – details there of his book on dealing with email too). People who work in offices have more chance to hear about this kind of thing. It’s a shame so few people attended – apparently there were 30 in Aschaffenburg. Probably there’s just too much else to do in Munich.
There was a list of common reasons why it’s hard to throw stuff away, from trivial to neurotic. I found these interesting for reasons I won’t go into. Also: need for archives; analysis of usual use of office space; how to avoid using post-it notes.
There was a reference to the way that old stuff carries old associations and you can only think new thoughts if you get rid of these ‘anchors’: the same old pictures, objects on desk, cuddly toys and so on. I saw these 10 seriously cool workplaces last week, and this reminded me. I particularly liked the slide to go from floor to floor, but I suppose that wouldn’t make me more productive.