Everything in its place. Is that really necessary?

Got into work today and the first thing I did was move my desk phone

It made quite an alarming, albeit satisfying, early morning scraping shriek across the desk as I moved it, resulting in the alarmed attention of a colleague. As she’s in the know about my pending diagnosis, she was acceptingly amused by my simply saying, “Phone was in the wrong place”.

Then I took out of my bag and placed in a row

  • 1 apple
  • 1 satsuma
  • my diary (open)
  • my mobile – face up by the diary’s right hand page

This is all arranged on the left of my monitor.

On the right of my monitor I have my coffee mug, in which I keep a stuffed toy lion when not in use. He has to go in a certain way so none of his legs are visible. Beside that is my work trays, with a different clip board for each project and scheduled tasks cross referenced to my online task planner. It’s all kept in place by my Eric Cartman paperweight who always faces forward.

Aside from Eric Cartman and the lion in the cup, there is nothing personal on my desk. No family photos  or puppy pictures. No gonks or widgets. No folders, no clutter. Just a desk, with a phone, monitor and laptop stand. I don’t even leave my laptop set up overnight, I clear it all away and set it up afresh the next day. Functional. Minimalist.  If I don’t need to use it, I don’t want to see it.

It doesn’t have to be this way, but it’s reassuring when it is. If it’s not, there is an underlying feeling of uncertainty, like something might happen that I’m not anticipating and I won’t be ready or won’t know what to do.

The reactions from colleagues vary. Some remark on how organised I am or how clean and tidy my desk is, seemingly in a positive way. Others (jokingly) make comments relating to OCD or me being on the spectrum – oh here comes little miss Aspergers – never really sure how to respond to that!

Others have deliberately rearranged (or what I like to call ‘sabotaged’) my desk when I’ve been away; much to their amusement and my distress. I remember on one occasion I arrived at work to find my desk completely emptied as a joke.  joke!

When stuff like that happens, it’s like there are two reaction processes going on with me at the same time:

1) the normal rational reaction:

Scenario: Someone completely re-arranges my desk and covers everything in pink post it notes and pizza sauce.

Reaction: It’s OK. I can see the joke. I know the people, they are my friends, they are just taking the mickey in a friendly way. I’m safe……. aaaand so I say say ” Oh hahaha,  yes very amusing, guys”, and all is well with the world.


2) The other reaction:

Scenario: Someone accidentally leaves a small elastic band on my desk.


As I get older I’m gradually training myself to exhibit the first reaction. I find it generally seems more helpful.


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