People line up on both sides of the messy desk controversy, armed with a good deal of passion. Advocates of orderliness secretly hold their messy desk counterparts in contempt, claiming the moral high ground. Those more comfortable with wallowing in chaos disdain the owners of soul-less workspaces, secure in the belief that an empty desk is indeed the sign of an empty mind. These seething resentments play out in offices everywhere, most likely exacerbated by the open-plan environment adopted by most companies, where everything is visible. The private office is a rarity usually reserved for the higher ranks. It gives ambitious employees something to which to aspire, like the executive washroom.
Your desk at home is not subjected nearly to the scrutiny received in an outside workplace, but could nevertheless be a source of domestic friction. Even if you live all alone with the cat, a brief glimpse of your desktop can occasionally produce waves of nausea.
You know it is time to start gathering your documents to start your taxes. You desperately need to catch up on correspondence, both electronic and written, but the possibility of locating even a writing implement, much less an envelope or stamp is extremely remote. There are files to be made and contacts to add to your computer; just to mention a couple of the routine tasks you have neglected to perform. Nonetheless, your desk has morphed from a work surface to a halfway house for delinquent and unrelated items. Before you can even get to what you have to do, you are faced with several hours of heavy lifting and hundreds of decisions to make as to what goes, what stays and where each possession needs to be.
This is our list of ‘Things Most Likely to Land on Your Desk’:
1. Tea or coffee mugs. You can count on having two or three at any given time. Beware, there is bound to be liquid sludge at the bottom of the drinking vessel.
2. Paper clips and other fasteners. These are thoughtlessly removed from documents and left for dead where they alighted.
3. Promotional imprinted mouse pads circa your first PC.
4. Jewel Cases – their long-gone contents could be anywhere.
5. Receipts – many with print so faded, not even carbon dating could distinguish a purchase date.
1. Chargers – for cell phones, MP3 players, tablets or cameras encompassing representation from both present and past models.
2. Coins – domestic and foreign.
3. Rewards cards – every retailer presses these on you hoping to increase their share of your wallet. You wind up with so many they don’t even fit in your wallet. Many just live on the desk.
4. Candles – considering their proximity to paper, they’re not the safest of options.
5. Trays – ins, outs, and stucks, both letter and legal.
Taken one by one, none of the above-named habitual visitors constitutes a crisis. Collectively, they do damage by creating distractions and roadblocks. As we have mentioned in previous C.R.U.D. blogs, you really need to have drawers or cubbies to help you manage the ebb and flow of this sea of miscellanea. By no means are the aforementioned the only examples of C.R.U.D. inclined to reside on your home office workspace. Tabs for hanging folders, pipe-cleaner animals that once clung to your monitor, plastic rulers and bottles of correction fluid are often encountered in this environment.
Don’t think you have to banish the lot. Just vow to set time aside for a mini-clean-up so you are not thwarted every time you attempt to work at your desk.