We’ve all heard it: “A cluttered desk is a sign of genius.” Neat freaks would likely disagree. After all, how do people make sense of a messy desk? With disheveled sheets of paper, pens spilled from their holder, a half-eaten sandwich, coffee cups, a phone, laptop, and so on, a messy desk is simply waiting for chaos to ensue. And the result would be… well… a messy desk still. Where’s the genius in that?!
On a more serious note, a personal desk at home can get away will the occasional clutter or the seasonal clean up. But an office desk at work is on an entirely different playing field. If your company has not implemented any strict rules on desk neatness, here are some practical reasons why you should do it anyway:
A clean desk displays organization.
In any work environment, the condition of an office desk reflects how that person goes about their duties and deliverables. When everything is in its proper place, it shows that tasks are done in an orderly fashion; there are no unfinished assignments that could cause distractions or delays. This also displays focus and dedication and getting things done when they should.
A neat desk helps the environment.
By some force of nature, a huge pile of paper on a desk seems to attract more paper to be added onto it – at the very least, this gives people the impression that they can easily leave sheets of paper on your desk. This leads to wastage when it could be discouraged by a paperless desk. Furthermore, disheveled paper is prone to spills and crumpling, which means it will likely end up in the trash.
An organized desk saves time.
A tidy desk lets you know where everything is. You don’t have to do digging for a pen under a pile of paper, and you don’t need to panic when you can’t find the report or material being asked from you. Your phone would also be easier to answer, and you would know exactly where to scribble a note or reminder when needed.
An organized desk shows what’s important.
An organized desk shows you what needs to get done. When your priorities are literally on the table, it lets you attend to them in a timely manner.
Your desk represents you.
Consider all the elements you have on your desk, both personal and work-related. There’s a good chance that in addition to your personal items, you have a desk sign with your name and designation on it. This sign tells other employees who you are and what you do. If you have a cluttered desk, you may want to look at that sign to remind yourself where you are and what you’re supposed to do. A messy desk never impressed anyone.
Keeping your desk organized is not just for your benefit, but for your fellow employees as well. Besides, it creates a very positive impression of you and your work habits. Now, this doesn’t mean that the desk should appear pristine and untouched. An empty desk is a different matter altogether.