Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Clean Desk vs. Messy Desk

So, it is the universal question—should you take time to clean your desk to be more efficient or is it more efficient to keep it all out on top of the desk?

I would like to say right up front that I am a messy desk person. No matter what I do to get organized, it all ends up on the top of the desk again. I make lots of excuses like, “I am working on multiple things at a time.” Everyone knows you can’t really do that. Or there is always the old standby, “I know exactly where everything is.” Sometimes I amaze myself by finding something in just a couple of seconds, but more often I am very frustrated looking for something I know is here. Then I will uncover it a month later in an unrelated stack. Here is my desk, and this is not staged. It is just a particularly bad week.

But some people have clean, nice desks. They seem like perfectly normal people, and they get their jobs done. How can this be? I am sure that I am intellectually superior or more able to multi-task or whatever thing makes me feel better about myself—I am definitely kidding about the intellectually superior. So, how do they do it? Or, more importantly, why do they do it? Here are some desks from our office that are unbelievably clean to me:

This is actually how a person works.

And here is a kindred spirit to me:

So, which is better? I think this will be debated until we stop printing things out —although even my Windows desktop is cluttered. I am hopeless.

So, just do what works for you. Or what your boss will let you get away with. At some point, a really disgusting desk attracts rodents.

Send us a picture of your desk—my preference would be the messy ones. I look forward to seeing how others manage with clutter. Please share with us your messy (or clean, if you just happen to be one of those people) desk stories on Facebook.

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