The Messier the Desk the Harder the Worker?

This is a question I pose to you, because I’ve heard it a lot and I don’t think its true.

My desk is one of the neatest in the newsroom. In our pods, our four desk stuck together by a pole that reaches to the ceiling, we each have a desk that consists of one long table with multiple drawers and then a smaller table large enough to fit your computer, and if your me some storage.

When I first started, my desk had my computer, telephone and desk calendar. I looked through the many office supplies at my house and came in with an organizer for books, a station for storing office supplies and a two-story holder for papers.

I like the setup, on my two-story paper holder are notes and paperwork for stories I am working on and stories that have not been edited.

In my book holder sits my AP Stylebook, phone book, Daily News Stylebook, a dictionary and some of my journalism books carried over from college.

I use my other storage area for post its, paper clips, storing business cards, pens and the side even has an area for my legal pad of paper that I use to take notes when I’m at my desk.

I like to keep my desk as neat as possible, but by mid-day there’s typically papers strewn about, some leftover apple and a couple empty cups sitting somewhere on the desk.

But I don’t like to leave with a messy desk, so ritual begins every day around 2:30 where I sort through the papers, wash off my plate and cup and stick the phone back in the corner where it belongs.

Don’t think I don’t love and respect my co-workers, but they are slobs. I honestly  think I work with some of the most talented and giving people in the industry. Since working here, I’ve learned so much from them, but their desks are atrocious.

One of our senior reporters has not one spot of desk accessible to the eye. It’s covered in mounds of paper, paper and a little more paper.

Another reporter has what she calls the Berlin Wall surrounding her desk. She is diagonal from me in the pod and lining her desk are baskets, books, book organizers with books, piles of phone books and piles of paper.

Even the “neater people” have piles of paper all over their desk, it’s just in neat stacks.

I remember when I first started here one of the women made the comment, “The messier the desk, the harder the worker,” which makes sense.

You work hard, you go through books and papers and there is just no time for cleanliness. But sitting over on the neat end I want to disagree.

I work very hard, but I make it a point to clean because my obsessive desire for order causes my focus to get lost if there is a mess all around me.

So I pose the question: Does the amount of mess have a direct correlation with the amount of work put in each day?


3 responses to “The Messier the Desk the Harder the Worker?

  1. I’ve long heard that a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind, but I’ve found that it gets to the point that a desk that is too messy becomes unproductive because you spend unnecessary time looking for stuff and sorting through stuff.

    • I don’t know if I like a saying that makes me sound crazy. Probably more accurately is ‘a clean desk is the mind of a person easily distracted from doing their work.’

      • You’re speaking to a person who is easily distracted by shiny things and… is that a squirrel outside? It’s called A.D.D.
        I’ve enjoyed your blogs lately.

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