Friday, October 14, 2011

Gorgeous Disorder

Today's post comes from Debbie Stanley owner of Thoughts In Order Counseling and Consulting. She has worked with chronically disorganized and hoarding clients since 1997, originally as an industrial psychologist and professional organizer and now as a licensed counselor. Debbie practice includes in-office, in-home, telephone, and Skype counseling, coaching, and corporate consultation.

Here in Day Two of the deluge of tributes to Steve Jobs, I’ve found a photo that makes my heart sing:
Steve Jobs in home office Dec 2004 - photo by Diana Walker

If you didn’t know before his death, you’ve had ample opportunity now to learn that Steve Jobs was brilliant–so much so that to call him brilliant is becoming an awkward understatement.

Now, look at his home office. Notice the rafters and the brick walls … looks like it’s in the basement. Notice the furnishings… as basic as it gets. And the books, in their gorgeous disorder. And the piles of stuff on the desk, under the desk, on the floor…. Beauty.

I’m in the business of helping people to find clarity through organization. Why does this photo please me? Because it proves that genius can thrive in an imperfect environment. Some people already have clarity without spatial organization. To tidy up would not help (at best) and might interfere (at worst). For them, it is a truly fine mess.

Thanks to photographer Diana Walker and her willing subject, this is no longer just my opinion. If you are excellent at what you do, and you do it at a messy desk in a messy office (with which you’d be perfectly content, if not for the nagging), your boss and your family don’t have to take my word for it that you’re fine as you are. They can look at this photo and recalibrate their opinions.

That’s Steve Jobs in the picture. If it were a regular Joe, or even a regular genius, many (maybe most) people would see it as just another messy-office guy struggling to keep up. Maybe they would see a self-employed contractor or architect or web designer who has to work in his unfinished basement to save money, and whose work is inferior because he’s disorganized and stressed. They probably wouldn’t imagine that the guy is a billionaire whose work changed the world and the house above his head is a mansion. But they are.

Thanks, Steve Jobs, for putting a ding in this stereotype.

Thank you Debbie for sharing your blog post.
You ROCK!!

Messy desk or clean desk ... It all depends on what works for YOU.

 I will admit, I'm pretty much in the middle on desk organization.
... and I'm cool with it.

How do you feel about your desk?


Mark said...

I'm far from Steve Jobs in the brain department, but I do well in my "piling". I know where everything is and I don't spend time on filing and neatness. Thanks Steve!

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

I interrupted cleaning my desk to read this post..... I work better when it's clean but I seem to be incapable of keeping it so. I'm not sure I need more inspiration to be messy :)