Why has my messy desk suddenly become a problem?
It projects a bad image:
According to Penelope Trunk in her book Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success Brazen Careerist:
If your desk is a mess you look overwhelmed and less competent. People with messy offices are perceived as less efficient, less organized and less imaginative than people with clean desks. (Pg. 161)The owners of our company aren’t too concerned about our mess because we always get our work done, but it does look bad to outsiders. I have heard more than one person make a comment about my boss’s messy desk including our banker who is clearly someone we need to impress. My co-workers also make comments about my boss losing their paperwork. When he isn’t around they sneak into his office and search for missing items. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens when I am not around as well. I have also had outsiders make comments about my desk.
I am inefficient:
How could I not be? I lose things. If someone puts a piece of paper on top of one of my stacks then someone else puts another piece on top of that one the original paper is sure to be buried. Also, when I need a clear work place I scoop up stacks of papers and move them sometimes mixing projects together. Then I waste valuable time searching for missing paperwork. I also lose my stapler, letter opener, ruler and favorite pen frequently.
My messy desk causes stress:
I am tired of working in this environment. My mess is a constant reminder of how far behind I am. One of my employees loves to remind me of things I haven’t completed. When she does this I just point to one of my piles and say yeah I haven’t gotten to it yet.
Be Strong challenge #2: Clean my desk
As part of my Be Strong project I am challenging myself to clean my desk. Each week I need to complete one or two of the outstanding projects on my desk. I actually started this a couple of weeks ago and have made some progress. Each completed project empowers me and reduces my stress a little bit. I am also making an extra effort not to add more paper to my piles. Spending just an extra ten minutes with my mail each day seems to make a difference and will surely save me a lot of aggravation down the road.
How about you? Do you have a messy or clean desk? Does having a messy desk bother you or bog you down?