Why Change Now? A Rebuttal to Michael Hyatt’s post “Clear your Desk Clear you Mind!

Okay, you can relax. Michael Hyatt and I are friends and business partners, but we are as different as night and day. Mike has a Mind and I don’t. Mike is the most efficient working machine I have ever seen whereas I sputter along belching smoke and eventually “get er done.” What is realistic for Michael Hyatt is often idealistic for me.

So when I read Mike’s post (I call him Mike) on creating a clean workspace, I had to respond on behalf of those of us who have work-spaces like mine.

Be sure to read to the end to find out the answer to Why Change Now? I know you will find this helpful. I hope you find it fun.

In his post Mike says,” There is something about having a clean work area that makes us more productive and frees our mind to concentrate on the task at hand.”

Michael, I have a clean work area! Its located underneath a very messy work area. If my desk is spotless…. I’m not working. I admit that sometimes I enjoy quietly sitting in my office looking at a clean desk. But in order to keep it clean, I have to use the dining room table as a work space. You should see my dining room.

Mike quoted Pausch. “Clutter is death, it leads to thrashing,”

Then I am a thrashing dead man!

Michael cited Toyota’s 5S method of organization.

“A great organizational tool was created by Toyota…. It’s called the 5S system. The term 5S originated from the five Japanese words used to describe the model:

1. The first term, Seiri, means “sort.” The first step in 5S’ing your office space is to go through each and every item in your office and decide if you really need it.

I always feel like I will need everything at some point in the future. The perfect way to find out what I will desperately need…… is to throw it away. I will need it the very next day.

Michael says “Sorting is about touching each and every item and making the hard choices.”

Mike! There are no hard choices here! The rule is if you touch it you have to read it, begin to work on it or simply examine it for a long time. We cluttered people work with diligence until we accidentally touch something, then the process repeats itself. Clearing my workspace is really more like shuffling a deck of cards. Pick a file any file.

2. The second term, Seiton, roughly translates to “Set in Order.” During your Sort you eliminated everything that you did not need. Yeah right! During your effort to Set things in Order you will determine where everything you are keeping goes. Your desktop and the tops of filing cabinets are not storage areas.

Yes they are!! Every empty space is a filing space. Nature abhors a vacuum. If empty space is not a filing cabinet what is it for? And Mike you forgot the space on the floor next to my desk and the empty chair in the corner. And what about the window sill and the space above the books in my book shelf?

Mike says, “On your desk itself a phone, computer monitor, and keyboard are probably necessary.”

What about the pizza box from last week, the hot cup of coffee that has cooled to a delicious frappuccino and the Tim Tebow bobble head. Mike, how can you be so thorough and still forget these necessities?

3. The next word in the 5S system, Seiso, means to “Shine.” This is the time to clean your office from top to bottom. Every object in your work space gets a thorough cleaning. Clean everything from the outsides of filing cabinets to the insides of your desk drawers. The phone and keyboard can be cleaned using forced air if necessary.

Forced air??? I need a “hazmat” team.

Mike continues. “Don’t allow anything in your office that isn’t completely functional.” Hey! That rules out my body!!! Am I to be banned from my own office? Will I never be allowed to visit your office?

4. Seiketsu means Standardize. It’s the fourth step in the 5S process and its about designing how everything in your office flows. Once you’ve established the optimum layout of your new lean, clean, and organized workspace, now take time to address how you will deal with the work that comes your way.

Helloooo! I’ve got yer flow! Find and empty space, stack stuff in a pile as it arrives and work from the top down……….. Unless you accidentally touch something.

5 Shitsuke or Sustain. The last step in the 5S process is represented by the Japanese word Shitsuke, or “Sustain.” Sustain is about committing to being aware of what is going on in your work area and about being willing to take action to insure that your work area remains your own design.

Mike, that is exactly my point! I have my own design. My system is called Y2K and also uses Japanese words.

1. Taigun means “Horde” Horde everything, you never know when you will need it.
2. Pairu means “Pile” Pile is like file except its spelled with a “P” To Pile IS to file!
3. Hakkō sa seru means “Ferment “ or “Mōrudo” which means “Mold.” Don’t attempt to clean it, or move it. You will lose something. Let it sit.
4. Sukyattā is Japanese for Scatter. Ancient American comedian say, “Many small piles better than one big one.” It is cheaper to organize piles than buy a cabinet.
5. Finally, Henkō ni teikō suru means “Resist Change.” I’ve have done it this way for years!

Why change now?


1. My system doesn’t work well!
2. Michael’s post is revolutionizing my productivity!
3. It will do the same for you.

Read Michael Hyatt’s entire post here.

Friends , don’t give up trying to create an efficient clean work space. As Mike says this is not a “learn by thinking about it” type of endeavor. It is a “learn by doing it endeavor.” Let me know how it works for you and………………. Opps! Got to go! the hazmat team is here again.

I value your comments. Am I am the only one who has a hard time keeping a clean efficient work space? Please tell me I am not alone.