Does a Clean Desk Help Concentration?


After months of surviving a desk with flaking paint, missing screws and legs that fell over if I looked at them funny, I finally brought a brand new one. It’s white, it has shelves, and it’s perfect for my writing. Of course then I had to put it together, and it turns out that DIY is not as easy people make it out to be (that or I’m just terrible at it, which seems more likely). But while I was struggling to assemble it, I started to think about the importance of well-organised desk.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that a clean desk has a positive influence on my writing and my concentration. Something about a cluttered desk covered in cups and papers distracts me and makes it difficult to get into the writing zone. Sadly, this is the normal state of my desk, which is probably why some days I find it hard to edit even 200 words.

A few weeks ago, I took a trip away and stayed in a hotel room which had the perfect writing set up. There was a little desk by a window with virtually nothing on it apart from a lamp. The whole area was clean and tidy, and, despite the fact that I was away from home, I worked better than I had in days, editing more in one evening than I had in a week.And I attribute at least part of it to the workspace I was in.

I firmly believe that having a clean desk makes a big impact on how well I work. Today I’m sitting at my new, freshly organised desk writing this blog post and I feel focused. I know if I need something, it is in arms reach. I don’t have to worry about the carefully balanced mountain of post-it notes, or the five dirty coffee cups waiting to be washed. I have a peaceful environment, which gives me a peaceful mind. I can focus and be creative.

So if you’re like me, and you have a messy desk, or you’re having a bad writing day, take some time off. Clean your workspace. Organise your post-it notes and wash those cup. Not only will you get your writing space in order, but you might just be creating a space that will help your creative mind be at its best. And on the difficult days, our creative minds need all the help they can get.

Do you work better with a clean desk? Or doesn’t it make a difference to you? What would be in your dream workspace?

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  1. This is SO true. I miss when I used to have a writing desk - my fiancee and I are moving into a house with my best friend soon and I will have one again :) I cannot wait!! Lately, I work at the library. It's so peaceful here, and the room I write in is actually a setting that inspired the start of my WIP!

    I think it's so worth it to spend a day just cleaning and organizing - it mentally helps your brain feel organized, I truly believe it works! Your desk is PRETTY :O I want one! Lol.

    When I'm at home I write in BED because we rent a room. It sucks, lol

    1. Working at the library would be so nice sometimes though. I'd love to write with all those books around me but the libraries are so far away from where I live that just popping in for writing isn't really possible.

      Good luck with your move when it happens. I'm sure it'll be amazing to have more space again. And a desk. Beds are useful substitutes, but there's nothing like a nice desk to write at.

  2. I work better with a clean desk on the computer—I can't stand it if there are dirty dishes around me or if there's a big mess all around me. So, for computer writing, the desk has to be clear. For handwriting, I can write almost anywhere, except with other people.

    Love your desk, by the way.

    1. Handwriting feels so much freer, doesn't it? It's easier to take it anywhere and do it no matter what the surroundings I find, just like you. For me it's a lot more informal. I only handwrite when I'm getting thoughts down, so that helps too.
      Thanks! I'm still totally in love with it at the moment. I feel so creative when I sit at it.

  3. Having a clean desk is really good ! and you can also put quotes that can inspire you and add some DIYS ! :)
    Followed you on GFC ! Hope you follow me back :)


    1. Oh yes. Having a nice tidy space like that is great for personalisation. I hadn't thought much about how I'm going to brighten up the space, but I do have a massive collection of awesome writing quotes, so I'll have to see about adding some of my favourites. Thanks for the follow!


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