When to Worry About That Messy Desk
Some workers seem to thrive on the chaos of a messy desk, while most of us experience confusion, delay and frustration trying to work in a cluttered work space.
What's the difference between harmless clutter in your cubicle and the kind of out-of-control disorganization that can wreck your job?
"If you start missing appointments, or if you find that you're spending more time looking for things than you should, then you've got a problem," says Marge Sneigle, a counselor in Greensboro, NC. Such disorganization may be a sign of a disorder such as ADHD.
Ms. Sneigle recommends three tips to get a better handle on your work space.
Stop and ask yourself: Is the mess on my desk simply the result of poor organization? Or does it reflect deeper problems? If emotional stress is causing the chaos in your work space, seek appropriate counseling.
Select an evening or weekend day when you'll drop by the office to reorganize—without telephones ringing or people demanding your attention. Think about what you actually do all day long, then organize more efficiently long those lines. And stay until the job is done! "It's a great feeling," says Ms. Sneigle. "You come in the next morning, and you know that you're making a fresh start!"
Find the courage to discard what you don't need by tossing it into the circular file. Says Ms. Sneigle, "When it comes to throwing things out, there's an old saying: 'If you haven't used something in two weeks, you probably won't miss it.'"