Reasons to Have a Clean Desk by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In General
Nov 3rd, 2013

Clean deskIn the September 2004 Fast Company magazine, it was reported that “48% of American executives admit to having a messy desk, but claim to know where everything is. In contrast, 12% say that although their desk appears organized, they have no idea where to find anything.”  May I just say that the first 48% are delusional and the last 12% are telling the truth.  Related to the messy desk idea is something that one of my subscribers said to me today on the phone:  “Until I recently cleaned my desk and office, I was using the geologic filing method, that is, I knew where things were (sort of) by which strata they were in.”

In the last two weeks, I’ve had you think about what a desk is and what it is not. To close out this little series, here are the reasons to make the time to set up and then maintain a clean, orderly desk and workspace.

  1. You can get work done (see last week’s list for all the things you can do productively at your desk).
  2. You are less distracted and can focus on whatever deserves your focus.
  3. Others perceive you as “taking care of business” (whatever that ‘business’ is).
  4. You can find what you’re working on.
  5. Your peace of mind increases.
  6. Clutter creates chaos and you don’t want a desk that says you are in chaos.
  7. An orderly desk is easier to keep clean (physically) when you don’t have to clean around piles and messes.
  8. You won’t have to apologize for your workspace. (This is a big one, folks!)
  9. The likelihood of things getting lost or buried decreases dramatically.
  10. When you walk into your office and the desk is neat, clean, and orderly, you feel great!

I have worked in the offices of professors, teachers, administrators, accountants, speakers, and consultants to perform Productivity Power Days.  As a result of this process, these professionals moved from having scary desks and overall workspaces, to having orderly, manageable, productive desks and workspaces.  When this happens, I hear a mixture of these Top Tens, but I always hear the last one….so keep that positive feeling in mind as your reason and your goal for keeping a clean, orderly desk.

And if you liked these tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® to Ridding Your Workspace of Clutter part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion.