As a magazine editor, I receive a lot of stuff. Picture endless packages containing everything from laundry detergents to solar-powered cell phone chargers. Combine that daily pileup with my organizational motto—"Postpone, postpone, postpone"—and you'll understand why, until recently, my desk was in shambles. The stuff (books, unopened boxes, dry cleaning, jars of tomato sauce, a small telescope, a hypoallergenic pillow) wasn't just a mess; it was a liability. Often I would reach for a phone number or the reminder I'd just written myself, only to spend five frustrated minutes sifting through the muddle. In this business of tight deadlines, five wasted minutes is a big deal.
My disastrous desk was famous around the office—so much so that two colleagues begged Peter Walsh to stage an intervention. When he arrived, he quickly set me straight. "I don't buy it," he said, when I complained that I didn't have time to organize. "That's another way of saying, 'I don't think organizing is important.'" Okay, then.