Saturday, April 03, 2010

Tidy desks?

Interesting blogs here about tidy desks - which to the author suggest 'an empty mind', or that the person has nothing to do.

My desk is never tidy; yes, I would like it to be tidy, but I am always working on different pieces of work, and need to see them to be reminded to do them - that saves me using valuable brain space better used for thinking! Also, much as described in the paper, I do find things on my desk, or in my shelves, when I need them. Maybe those of us who use untidy desks have a different way of remembering things than those whose desks are tidy? There could be lots of psychological theories explaining memory and ways of constructing memories or where something is and what I should be working on. I do use a crib sheet (to do list) to make sure I don't forget important, or sometimes unimportant things - what may be important to me, on a high level, can be different to what is important to the organisation or its suppliers (writing contracts, dealing with payments, money allocations, organising keys for consultants and so on).

I remember working in an office which had a 'clean desk' policy - to allow the cleaners to clean the desks (mainly), though there were also issues with client confidentiality, where the clients' files were lying on the desks (some of those cleaners might also be clients). Not sure that I actually ever saw a totally clean desk....

So if you have an untidy desk, go ahead - if you produce the work you are required to produce then it's just your style of working. We are all different!


varske said...

The only time I saw a (semi) successful clean desk policy was when everybody just threw the contents of their desk into a drawer each night. But I assume that after a time the drawers get full and you need a new desk, whereas that never happens if you just have a messy desk.

These days I have a filing tray for things I think might be useful again, and a mess on my desk which every now and then I add to the recycling pile. We don't seem to need paper files nearly so much these days.