Your Desk: Is it organized?

How organized is your desk?

  • It is emmaculate. Everything has a specific location.
  • I spend 8+ hours there a day, I can’t keep it totally clean, but I do my best.
  • “I know exactly where everything is!”

0 voters

I am going through a bit of a work detox. I am finding that running a business is working my time management skills in a way that I have never experienced before.

I am curious about everyone’s personal work environment. Do you feel that your desk and the way you keep it affects your time management skills?

Even more curious if you believe that your tidiness (or lack of) contributes to your creativity?

I don’t think there is any relation to being a good manager and having an organized desk. I think good management comes down to social ability: picking good help, motivating people, seducing clients, etc. If you are a really excellent manager, you will eventually have enough work you will need to hire someone to keep the paper organized. This is why I work in a corporate environment hehe.

Watch this! Bill Geist battles clutter (CBS Sunday Morning) - YouTube

My favorite quotes from the video:

“If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” -Albert Einstein

“There’s something offensive about anyone who’s too well-organized, or even organized at all, because I just don’t think they produce much of anything.” -Andy Rooney

“The authors found that mployees with messy desks are 36% more efficient”

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas Edison

I subscribe to the “piles” method of organization. All related things that I need to be out, active projects, books/mags gets a pile. Occasionally, I will repile- gathering up anything that has wandered. The pile is filed when it’s no longer active. Looks cluttered, feels just right!

I tend to organize my “virtual desktop” this way to, clustering related files together, but only of current/active projects. It works better than endless sub folders, but can easliy drop these clusters into folders for sharing/archive.

Well I’ve trouble answering : even the humorous “I know were everything is !” doesn’t seems to fit my err… desk. Hard to call it a desk as you don’t see it any longer.
But inside my computer (almost) everything it’s at the right place ?!

I couldn’t be more anal; my phone, my wallet, my everything has a specific location.

It starts out fairly clean on Monday. By Friday it looks like this:

For me it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” Thus, it’s all out but organized…sorta…most of the time.’

Let’s see some pics, especially yours stuart :slight_smile:
Photo 1.jpg

Forgive me, this is my corporate-provided furniture!
Note the piles in the background.

I really like to start out major projects with a very clean work area… its like a blank canvas for me. Then as things get crazy with deadlines, late nights, etc. it starts developing little piles and work areas around the space. I have have long desks in my home office, so these piles/work areas are almost randomly scattered and different for each project. I almost don’t feel like I can properly start a project with a completely clean work area (ready to mess up). It’s almost psychological - cleaning up older project work gets them out of my mind

I do piles too but I try to clean up once every week. I like cleaning and organising, it’s incredibly therapeutic and really helps to unwind the mind.

This is my argument to my wife when my desk is full and I start putting things on the coffee table. I have the same philosophy.

I have to start with a clean, organized desk. Current projects are in “active piles” like most of us, organized with the criss cross action, desk location, or a readymade 11x17 paper folder to hold “sections” or subsections. But the desk has to always have a pristine area for sketching.

Remember, I am referring to time management…not ppl management.

Efficiency and effectiveness is what I am after. I have typically landed in the “I know where everything is” catagory, but I find that spending another 30+ seconds looking for a document, or pen, or whatever adds up. The little distractions throughout the day are what really throws off time management.

My brain works this way to. Out of site, out of mind. But there is part of me that wonders if this isn’t related to a “cluttered mind”. Is a cluttered mind is reflected in the world you keep…maybe?

One of the things that has me really thinking about all this is the feeling of completion.

A couple ppl have hit on it in this thread. I find that as my desk piles up, I am in a constant state of motion. Nothing ever feels “done”. I like the thought process of keeping a relatively tidy desk that addresses your daily or weekly needs, but using the purging as something that is cathartic. Finishing one project and moving to the next.

This is my office space at home. I draw here. I write here.
I pay my bills and taxes here, but I don’t really work from

I try to keep my office at work as strictly clean and organised.
For me straight organisation is the basis for creativity.
If everything is a mess I feel that I hinder myself from getting
things done.

Inspiration comes from the outside. I might go wild places, but
I couldn’t work from there.

When I am in a project I do also develop that piling technique.
But in difference to one of our owners of business I do always know
where this one fact sheet or presentation is.

His piles are reaching through the roof, because he always calls:
“could you send me that report again? Asap?”


I must admit though, that he is a terrible creative person, and he doesn´t
have to organise himself, because he is who he is…

I am not a manager but:

My desk is organished, party because i am limited to a small desk so i have to. If it was cluttered i couldnt sketching,make models up etc…

My floor however isnt.

I personally sketch on A4 paper, from the printer. It’s quick and easy to grab hold of (i.e arms reach) What tends to happen is that i have an idea, work through it on that piece of paper, chuck it on the floor. keep going until what ever i was working is resolved, then it goes on the wall as a reference.

The Floor will get cleaned every week.

My old boss used to make us as employees tidy our desks at the end of every day. Personally it used to do my head in because i would only get the stuff out again the next day.

Providing stuff which is older than 1- 2 weeks is archived properly i dont think a messy environment is in efficient.

That’s exactly my issue. When I want to do something, I want to be able to do it right then and there. I don’t want to have to waste time always searching for something, the same things over and over. It wastes a lot of time and messes up my flow. When I lived alone, I could walk through my house in complete darkness and get just about anything I needed instantly.