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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ The tyranny of tidy people... ]

The tyranny of tidy people...

A FEW years ago when I was working in a sixth form college, the old staffroom was a happy place. We were all allocated wooden desks left from its days as a grammar school. Each one was made individual by its owner with books and photos, potted plants and postcards: our little corners of territory. It made you feel secure knowing that those things you would need to do a day’s work would be there in the morning when you arrived.

Of course, some of the desks were left neat as a pin, books in alphabetical order, papers cleared into the drawers: a mug and Tupperware container of tea bags. Others, like mine, were to an outsider’s view, messy. Piles of papers with no particular order; pictures and photos randomly displayed. But we all functioned equally as well: meeting our deadlines, completing our mark books, processing essays. Then one day, the management decided we needed to be rationalised, “hot desked”. We would have to clear our work away each day, sit anywhere, our briefcases would become our workstations.

For some, the process was easy, they already left little on their desks, able ruthlessly to throw away papers when not needed, think in linear lines. But for me, like others, the instant result was panic. The article I had torn from The Independent would disappear; the endless scribbled notes for new teaching ideas would be swept into cleaners’ sacks. A whole gang of us itinerants cruised the corridors, homeless, carrying piles of papers and dropping books. At one point we jokingly said we should buy wheelbarrows. In the end, I used my car. Even in the coldest days of winter, I would grab a coffee and sit happily in the back seat listening to Radio 4, sifting my thoughts and shuffling my papers as I steamed the windows.

The problem is tidy people have this tyrannical view that being tidy means you are more efficient, more organised, but for some of us it has exactly the opposite effect. If, like me, you change from one activity to another, flit from thought to thought within the space of a few minutes, tidying things away is simply a waste of time: you need things close to hand. For the mistake tidy people make is that untidy people do not know where things are. This is totally untrue: I always know exactly which pile of apparent rubbish is which.

So I was pleased to read that Dr. David Deutsch, one of Oxford’s leading theoretical physicists, thought he and most of his fellow academics were creatively untidy: “I am fairly sure that I couldn't be very productive without also being untidy. Being forced to enact someone else's idea about the disposition of one's working environment is tantamount to enacting someone else's idea of what one's mind should be.”

Of course, there is a difference between being untidy and leaving the mouldy half-eaten sandwich under the computer. But now, as I happily work in my own space, surrounded by my own clean chaos, I remember someone telling me when we questioned the bare desk policy: “clear desks were measureable: thought processes weren’t” and the inspectors were coming...



(Source: Cyprus Mail)



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