The Empty Desk is a system of coordination and organization, initiated by long time business administrator – Douglas Peacock.
System design is something in which Douglas has always had a keen interest. Having started a career in the Insurance Industry, this interest quickly focused on the seemingly impossible task of arranging paperwork into some semblance of order. It was the dream of all administrators to have an empty desk at the end of each day, so perhaps that was the thing to go for.
What has transpired is that to have an empty desk at the end of the day, it has to be empty throughout the day also. Desks do not suddenly become empty. What is empty? How is empty maintained?
A “lost chord”, a definition lost with the demise of the bartering system, has been found and it is this simple find that gives us the answer to maintaining an empty desk throughout the day. If you trade your sheep/flock of sheep for another person’s calf/herd of cattle, you have the trade captured in one single event. Once completed, there are no further sequences in the trade. If you change the basis of trading to trading money for goods/services/trading currency, the money itself becomes the traded item and, as such, does not cause a problem. It is the way in which we coordinate the paperwork that relates to the trade that causes the problem of having let’s say – a cluttered desk/work space.
The relevant lost definition is not the size of the traded item (i.e. a cheque instead of a cow), it is that the trade is One trade. If you look at your paperwork, in relation to a single trade, you have:
- The cheque stub or card receipt
- Maybe an Invoice
- The bank statement
- Credit Card Statement
- Various entries in your bookkeeping, perhaps double entry
- Your accountant asking you where the invoice for a particular book entry is
- Income statements and/or paying in slips
- End of month statements
- Etc., etc., etc.
and all of this does not include the combined documentation for all trades i.e. Notification from your bank as to charges at a given date, submission of accounts to HMRC or other taxation authorities etc., etc., etc. From this list, you will see that the relevant item, or activity, will be represented many times before the administration relating to that item, or activity, is completed – not just one action.
To resolve this problem, you must ensure that all of the items relating to the trade, or activity, are put together so that they appear as One. This applies to the combined documentation as well. The idea here is to make it so that your administration totally represents your trades and activities, by being an exact reflection of them in terms of the definition of One.
If you staple your Debit/Credit Card Receipt, or Cheque Stub to the Invoice for the trade and put that document as the last item in say a Ring Binder holding all your Bank Statements, when the relevant Bank Statement comes in, you put the document, in entry order, in front of the Bank Statement. If you continue to do this with all trading documents that you receive, at the end of the Tax Year, your combined trading records will be as One in One place. If your bookkeeping columns align with the declarations needed on any tax authority declaration forms, or submissions, such forms or declarations align with the One principle and become part of the One.
Douglas and all subsequent “Guinea Pigs” have experienced the phenomena that once ALL of your administration of FINANCIAL records combines as One, even before getting the tax authority records to align, all of the financial figures going around in your head, a feature which you do not consciously realize is there, disappears along with the stress relating to it. It seems that not working naturally i.e. not aligning with the natural principle of One, in trading, creates an unnatural stress. Douglas called this the “lost chord” because no one in the modern world, in living memory, knows what it is like just to trade naturally. It seems that, once recovered, the stress of working with synthetic non-aligning systems never returns, not even if you cease to work with the natural system of One; you just have to realize/regain the experience of what is the natural existence.
Having completed the “Ring Binder” process you will understand what Empty Desk means by – “you are separate from your trades and in control of them”. The figures don’t have to work through you any longer.
Paperwork is kept in an Office, your Office. If the paperwork is a reflection of the trade/s, then what is your Office a reflection of. Turn that “what” into a “who” and you have the answer – You. The system for your Office operates along the same basic lines as the human being.
Just to give you an idea of how Empty Desk works imagine an A4 Box, 4” deep, with a lid, working in conjunction with a Card Index system. Supplies all go into the Cupboard. Books, Reference Materials, Artwork, and other Library type items, go into the Library. All other items are put into the Box – Every piece of paper. How then can you possibly have any clutter? Everything that you have in your Office is either in the Cupboard, in the Library, or in the Box. Have a good look at the Library. It is a very swift way of seeing your Office reflection of you!
The Empty Desk is a coordination of items, within an organized framework, in order to administrate. It is set up here, on the website, in a familiar framework, i.e. a standard office. The principle aims of The Empty Desk are:
- A new system of work that is not in a tangle
- A stress free environment
- An Empty Desk.
In the Empty Desk Office there is a place for everything and everything in its place.
Yes, I know ha ha:
If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, Of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? – Albert Einstein
Sounds like a retaliation from someone accused of keeping a cluttered desk. It is also a question that is rather difficult to answer, given that the opposite of “cluttered” is “uncluttered”; not “empty”! You certainly have to take “relativity” into account, if you are to answer Albert E’s question!
Paperwork on your desk is not necessarily “clutter”. It is where the paper is, or whether it should be there in the first place, that is relevant. If you do not follow the principles shown on this website you will not have an “empty desk”.
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