“A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind.”
You might disagree with this and believe that a cluttered desk or work environment is a sign of genius, creativity and self-expression. It’s not.
It is a sign of inefficiency, laziness and bad manners.
If your office looks like a garbage dump, it doesn’t matter if you can prove that you could find anything that you are being asked for in less than 5 minutes - it still looks like a garbage dump!
First of all it is not “your” office - it’s your company’s office and therefore represents your company. Don’t make your office an extension of your living room. It is a place to work, not a place where you express yourself and try to show off your personality. If you need to do that write a book or start painting.
Second, no matter how much you personally believe in chaos theory - it is not efficient. This goes back to the basic rule of “touch every item only once” that I have already discussed in the “zero inbox” section.
If your desk is cluttered with paper (and even worse with all kinds of other stuff) you will, even if you intend otherwise, touch many items more than once. You won’t finish necessary tasks and you will waste time. You read a document - maybe just half of it - and put it back on the pile. You will inevitably read the beginning of the same document over and over again until you remove it from your desk.
Don’t just keep it there - read it (if you must), act on it, get rid of it!
At the end of the day you should have an empty desk or at least a neat desk knowing exactly what to start with the next day.
Do not start a “mystery pile”, “to do later”, “read when I have time” etc. - you will never do it, mess up your desk, distract yourself with all the stuff you still have to do and sooner or later get demotivated because there is no way you ever get done.
Besides your cluttered desk also take care of the rest of your office - there is no reason why your office should not look perfectly organized and clean every day. Don’t store stuff in your office, don’t get more and more shelves for all your “important” stuff.
I believe in the zero cabinet office - I have one small container for personal files (that can be locked) - and that is all.
No additional papers, no folders, no stuff.
(this is an excerpt of my book “Rise to the top!” – you can get it now at Amazon)