Clutter is a State of Mind

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015 Warren Martin. All Rights Reserved.

If I do anything but share the truth on this matter, my friends and family (my wife in particular) would be quick to set the record straight … so, I acknowledge that I’m comfortable with a good deal of clutter surrounding me.

The walls of my office are covered in items from around the world. My desk is “artfully” arrayed in semi-disorganized piles of information. In short, I live in what most people would consider a world of clutter. However, I tend to be a highly focused individual on the task at hand. My organizational style does little to slow me down.

I don’t sweat the clutter. I’m not a time-manager. I’m not a detail person, but I get the job done. Often more effectively than others around me.

I consider myself a problem-solver. If it ain’t a problem, there isn’t any need in addressing it. When it becomes a problem, I solve it immediately!

I have come to realize that clutter is a state of mind, not a state of inanimate objects! I know people who live in clutter and are highly effective. I also know extremely organized people, who can’t get anything done. The question is how cluttered is your focus? Do you have a clear or cluttered state of mind?

I was recently reminded of this in my new position. Our curator showed me two notes she found in the files when she first arrived on the job and began processing the collection. The notes emphasize how, even if it seems to be extremely organized, we actually create clutter that distracts us from our focus.

While combing through the files, she found a note in a file folder that reads: “When opened April 15, 1992, this folder contained nothing. Whereabouts of contents unknown. Signed 4/15/92.” What? Why would you ever refile this folder? Organization or lack of organization is not the problem here. The problem is lack of substance.

Another note was found in the folder marked “75th Anniversary Celebration.” When the folder was opened inside the note read: “This folder was created in anticipation of receiving photos of the 75th Anniversary Celebration. None have yet been donated. Signed March 2, 1992.” Again, kudos for organization, but the substance was missed entirely because of a lack of focus on follow through.

People who are extremely organized don’t impress me. People who are disheveled don’t scare me. What are you getting done? That is the question that matters.

If you keep diligently working on projects that never seem to be moving forward, the problem is most likely NOT in your time-management technique or your filing system. The problem is most likely a cluttered state of mind! You are not focused on the goals and objectives necessary to accomplish the task. I can not tolerate clutter there!


Coaching and training is available. Contact Warren Martin for more information.


About Warren Martin

WARREN MARTIN is a philosophy graduate of Texas Tech University. He is an author, teacher, minister, artist, quasi-philosopher and speaker known for his unique teaching style. His passion is to share the grace of Christ and to inspire & invest in the next generation of leaders. Learn more here...