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Get me out of this mess!

From disorganised desks to mental chaos, Anita Chaudhuri discovers the joy found in creating more order in life…

Recently, my sister gave me a present that, although modest, would change my life. It was a pencil case, decorated with the characters from Peanuts, a childhood favourite of mine, and featuring different zipped compartments. Strange to say, I have never possessed such an item in my grown-up life. Not so strange to say, I am always the person scrabbling around asking, ‘Er, has anyone got a pen?’ minutes before an important interview. Or, at least, I used to be…

After a couple of weeks of realising how much easier, and more efficient, my life was now I could always access vital writing implements, the penny dropped. Far from being boring, maybe a little organisation might, in fact, free up my energy to get more done? This was a difficult thought to take on board because, like many people who regard themselves as ‘creative’ types, I have always believed that chaos equals good things like creativity and spontaneity while, say, colour-coded ring binders and sticky labels are the enemy of originality.

I would probably have drifted back into my old ways, though, had it not been for Donald Trump. After his recent West Wing interview, Michael Gove observed that the new president of the United States ‘has an untidy desk, so not necessarily a well-ordered mind’. I double-clicked on the image of the Trump desk. It was indeed messy. I scrutinised my own desk – mounds of receipts, magazines, torn-out news clippings, half-eaten packets of fruit pastilles and discarded wrapping paper. Suddenly, a filing cabinet struck me as an alluring purchase. But how do you change the bad habits of a lifetime?

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Psychologies May 2017 - Get More Organised