Albert Einstein

Mark Twain

Mark Zuckerberg

Steve Jobs

What do they all have in common? They all had/have incredibly messy desks.

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

Well you know what? I’ve had enough! I work in a shared office space, a very nice space at that. It’s all trendy freelancers with Macbooks and flat caps. I sit on a bank of desks with 8 people and they are some of the messiest people I’ve ever come across. As I type this very article I’ve got empty mugs and half eaten Jammy Dodgers in my eyeline.

And you know what the worst part is? These filthy animals use the excuse that a messy desk could be a sign of genius, backed up in this recent article in the Indy online. Writer, Sarah Young, talks about a recent study from the University of Minnesota which found that “creative geniuses favour a chaotic workspace.”

After a series of tests, Kathleen Vohs, a psychological scientist who carried out the study concluded that “being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: creativity. Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights. Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe”

Well you know what Kathy? My desk is in pristine condition. I use a Dettol Antibacterial Surface Wipe on it every morning. I wash up my mugs after I use them. I keep my pens in a pot. My elastic bands are in a neat ball. And you’ll never see a bit of stray paperwork. But it doesn’t make me any less creative than my colleagues.

Professional shredders even came up with the idea of Clean Desk Policies with three simple steps to keep a clean and tidy desk…

PLAN first thing in the morning. Keep just the things you need for your workday on your desk. Start each day with a few minutes of planning so that you can organise the documents you need for immediate work. File all other folders and documents.

PROTECT information whenever you leave your desk. You obviously have to leave your desk to attend meetings or to take breaks. But whenever you do, make a quick check to see if there is sensitive information on your desk and place it inside a folder or off your desktop. And for additional security, make sure to switch on your computer’s password-protected screen saver.

PICK UP at the end of the day. When you leave your desk in the evening, don’t leave documents on it. In order to maintain the security of both your client and employee information, it’s essential to file your documents or lock them up, if necessary. If you get into the habit of cleaning off your desktop every day before you leave, you’ll enjoy the added productivity benefits that come with a clean office first thing in the morning.

Shredit, I like your style.
So I’ll stick with my motto; Tidy Desk, Tidy Mind. I just hope one day, my fellow hot deskers will see the light.