What can I say? This is my desk. It's quite tidy, for me.
What can I say? I teach in two subjects, both of which are largely book-based, and I'm trying to get some research done. The books lined up at the back are mostly related to either Anne of Green Gables or Welsh travel writing and theory. Those in the foreground and to the right are largely things I'm teaching at the moment. They're there because my bookcase is full. As is the one next to it, which I've appropriated. There are even piles on top of the bookcases. Though there is good news: only two books have come in this week, Mary Gentle's Ash and Ken Livingstone's memoir, You Can't Say That.
I would like a tidy desk, but only because my office-friends are neat and tidy, and the sight of my stuff encroaching like a paper scum must horrify them. To them, I apologise. I don't particularly mind the mess per se: I am a little disorganised in some ways, but this is just surface detail. Every summer, I clear the desk completely. Then every term, it all comes creeping back.
Some of these tips are OK, but some are a bit glib:
Have as few things as possible, and you don’t need to organize.
Try to keep the desk clean, leaving only the essentials on its top. The rest goes into the drawer, boxes, the archive, or the bin. Your computer, the phone, and the paper you are currently work on is enough.
Right. When I have one job, and less teaching: perhaps. Or an office of my own (which in some ways I'd hate - some of the best educational moments I've benefited from have been chatting with my colleagues).
Keep everything in its own place so you don’t have to look for anything, it is immediately to hand.
I do. I keep everything in piles right by my hand.
Purchase 1 picture frame and fill it. The easiest way to stay organized is to stay motivated, and the best form of motivation is to remember what’s important. A daily glimpse of your friends, family, pet, etc. will bring an instant smile to your face.
Ugh. I can taste a little bit of sick. As if you should ever dignify work by reference to relationships. If you're reluctantly pushing paper around for some corporate behemoth, admit it. Don't poison your genuine relationships by allowing work to appropriate some of the emotional significance. If, on the other hand, your work is intrinsically important to you - and mine is, despite occasional frustration - you shouldn't need the grinning fizzogs of your family to add emotional weight. Personally, a photo of my family would a) take up most of the desk-space and b) bring me out in hives. Given the above average sibling rivalry, and the way it's usually expressed in criticism and (if I'm lucky) needling, a photo would drive me to commit some kind of spree killing.
There's a branch of management studies which examines corporate spaces, but I don't know enough about the field to pontificate about it. My decorations reflect my interests (communist kitsch and memorabilia, Welsh references, literary humour and a print of a photo I took), and a load of framed prints which are only here because I've filled the wallspace at home with bookshelves and don't have anywhere to hang them. Instead of pointing you towards management studies, here's a trailer for Office Space, which expresses beautifully the deadening effect of corporate blandness. The sub-plot of the waitress's battle against enforced gaiety (expressed through the 'voluntary' addition of 'flare' - badges to you and me) is a case-study in capitalism attempting to fake emotional depth.
My space is a self-selected narrative of me: largely voluntary, though not entirely. In a sense, I'm 'curating' my work-identity. It's important to academics to demonstrate their professional status, and one of the ways we do it is to assert our individuality in this way more than most people are allowed to. We aren't part of a corporate machine, we hope, and so messiness proclaims our independence. Except that our difference is minimal: most of us like endless shelves groaning under the weight of books, a bit of academic humour and a little politics. Belonging to our tribe and declaring independence might seem mutually exclusive, but somehow we manage it.
What are your spaces like?