Like many, I multi-task throughout the day, juggling various responsibilities at the computer. Today, I’m juggling emails, finishing reports, editing texts, and writing this reflection. If I am not careful, a variety of documents stack upon each other on my screen, and multiple internet browsers lie open, tempting me to explore in new directions. My desktop becomes congested, mirroring my life.
I’m confident that many of you will recognize this state of being. Having our “desktops” littered this way might reflect our “busyness,” but ironically enough the congested screen distracts and undermines productivity, at least for me. Clutter impedes clear and deliberate thinking — both requisites for writing. I need a clean desktop from which to compose.
So, once I’ve done my researching and reading, collected notes, and created an outline, I try to move self-consciously into writing mode. I close all browsers and other documents. I shut off email alerts. I place in front of me a blank screen on which to compose, freely with clarity of mind and purpose.
Although I will probably not change my propensity for multi-tasking, I need this uncluttered environment in order to write. The siren calls of email and internet, of the next thing on my to-do list, are hard to resist. I fall frequently into clutter. But I have found that when I can resist, my thinking is clearer, the writing is easier.