Clean Desk, Sick Mind?

Words on the side of the coffee mug say “A Clean Desk Is The Sign Of A Sick Mind.” The people who wrote, produced and sold that should be ashamed of themselves for spreading such lies!

How many business people furnish their offices with beautiful shelves, credenzas and bookcases, only to cover them with piles of dingy files and magazines that haven’t been reviewed in years? This sends a message of unprofessionalism to any boss, co-worker, or visitor, and certainly makes the person working in that office less productive.

Organization and lack of clutter are beneficial in many ways. Productivity experts say that those who are most effective keep only one project on their desks at any time – the one on which they’re working right then. This creates a sense of focus that can’t be achieved when there are papers all around.

And consider time lost to looking for documents and articles. Disorganization creates many wasted hours in a week. One consultant suggests replacing the phrase “filing system” with “retrieval system.” It’s simple to throw things in files or on stacks, but being able to retrieve them when needed is valuable beyond measure.

Untidiness also drains our enthusiasm. Clinical studies have shown that just looking at a basket full of laundry extracts as much energy as actually putting it in the washer. Remember that the next time your eyes fall on a mountain of papers that will eventually require your attention. Better to store them out of sight for handling one at a time.

It would be great if the person who wrote that coffee mug phrase could read this article. By following its advice and getting organized, he or she might have more time to enjoy the coffee.


The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.


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