A Messy Desk Isn’t a Sign of Genius, It’s a Sign of a Messy Desk

There used to be a theory that a messy desk was a sign of genius. Now we see a messy desk as a sign of someone who’s disorganized.

Sometimes you get really busy and it’s easy for files and papers to pile up on your desk. That’s understandable. But here are some reasons you should take the time to clear off your desk:

  1. Especially if you work in an office where others, including your boss, drop by your cubicle or your office, you will be judged by how messy or neat your desk is.
  2. It is easier to find what you really need if you take the time to put files or papers away as you finish with something rather than letting it pile up on your desk.
  3. Stayed focused is easier if you only have on your desk the one priority project you’re working on right now.
  4. Privacy is more assured if you have fewer papers, especially confidential ones, sitting in full view on your desk.
  5. As the great sociologist Erving Goffman conveyed in the title and themes of his book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, you are sharing with the world how you want to be seen. Take the time to control that image by controlling what you have on your desk!

Originally posted 1-6-2015

About Jan Yager

Jan Yager, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY in New York City. She is also a time management and relationship speaker, coach, and author of numerous books on productivity including Work Less, Do More (2nd edition), translated into 10 languages, and Put More Time on Your Side (2nd edition). For more information, go to: https://drjanyager.com or write to Jan about her coaching or upcoming workshops at: jyager@aol.com