They say that a messy desk is the sign of genius. If that’s true then I must be working on a Nobel Prize for design management because my desk it often overrun with stuff. I often have a stack of post-its with my daily to-do’s, printouts of design work to review, and manila folders of completed or dormant projects on my desk.
The problem is that all of this clutter is pretty distracting and prevents me from being productive or creative.
I’ve had nine desks in four years where I work. This means I have had to clean off my desk, take down my posters and notes, empty out my drawers, and pack everything up into boxes so that office services can take everything over to my new cube more than a few times. These frequent moves have actually been a good thing for me though, because with each move I end up organizing my things and de-cluttering (AKA throw junk away) my desk.
I’m amazed at how productive I am for the first several days after I get to my new desk, and I’ve come to realize it’s because I don’t have all of those distracting stacks of books, piles of notes, or clusters of things that have nothing to do with my tasks for the day.
So now, whenever I feel like I’m being anything less than productive I clean up my desk like I’m moving to a new location. The act of de-cluttering and organizing my physical space, allows me to get back into a productive and creative space again as well. It’s funny how such a simple thing gets me back to where I need to be to do my job well.