What my workspace says about me

I was recently drawn to a photo of David Allen’s home office space, as posted on the GTD Times blog. I took a good look at the photo and started to think about my workspace and what its setup said about me.


David Allen’s recent photo of his workspace, with labels, shows how the master of Getting Things Done (GTD) sets out his tools. The image was posted on GTD Times just a week or so ago and has garnered a number of comments. To me, the space looks well laid out. A number of people have commented on the apparent untidiness, but I don’t see that; I think that, given the obvious space limitation, it is as sparse as it can be.

When I look at my own workspace in the Public-i offices (no, there’s not going to be a photo of it – too embarrassing) it’s apparent that I have a lot more desktop to play with. I would say 3 times as much. On it I have: my iMac, keyboard & mouse; an in-tray and secondary tray beneath; phone; pen tidy; tickler file; and a whole load of ‘stuff’.

And I guess it’s the stuff that’s the problem. Having a large desk means I can just plonk things down and pretend that they’re forgotten about, but there they sit, constantly reminding me of projects and tasks that I’ve committed to do at a later time, distracting me from the task at hand.

Here’s a list of some of the stuff:

  • 6 notebooks (each for a different aspect of my working life), only one of which could ever be relevant for the current task,
  • 2 iPad cases that never get used,
  • My box of index cards (which I use for my Pomodori), of which only one is necessary,
  • 5 boxes of business cards and personal cards, 3 of which are out of date,
  • Various bits of paper that I should really file / scan,
  • 3 Chupa Chups lollies and a packet of biscuits (arguably essential),
  • Battery charger (for the mouse and keyboard)

I’ve decided that I can do without all the ‘stuff’. I’m going to sort out some more files for my filing cabinets and get filing. Hopefully at the end of the process, I’ll end up with a desk with nothing on it but the essentials.

How’s your workspace looking today? Do you need to have a spring clean?


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

5 thoughts on “What my workspace says about me

  1. Hi there!
    Long time no post.
    That picture of the desk was pretty cool,
    and it kind of let me appreciate my desk.

    I’ll post a picture of it eventually but yeah

    having a confortable desk is very important in my opinion.
    My epiphanies with his desk were the reading pile, project support and notebooks at his desk.

    Very nice!

  2. Got to say my desk is like my mac – minimal …

    27 inch iMac.
    Dymo label writer 450
    Fujitsu ScanSnap – we are truly paperless
    1 Moleskine – I dictate and transcribe on a weekly basis

    My storeroom has plenty of plastic boxes with any office supplies ..

    Done –

    • Sounds ideal, Gary. My desk is now looking a lot better than when I wrote this post – very clean and organised, and I’ve gained a much better working environment where I can really focus.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Apologies for the broken link – it looks like my shortener domain has broken. I’ve updated that link so you can click through on it now.

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