There is a saying that implies the messier your desk, the more creative your mind; while this may be true, you may be super creative, but are you efficient? Are you organised? Your colleagues do not actually care what your desk LOOKS like, but it may look as if you are messy and unable to organise yourself.
This can reach further than just your desk to the entire workspace you find yourself. Having a cluttered and untidy work area can be overwhelming for some people, even if they do not realise. Too much of anything around you while you are trying to work is distracting and can be annoying. Having less in your workspace means you can also find what you need quicker, making you more efficient. Especially for businesses like recruitment, where we are constantly bringing candidates into our workspace, a cluttered or messy workspace can seem just plain unprofessional. So how do we conquer this?
Humans are (almost) the only species that collect (crabs are notorious collectors too!), and we collect a lot. We have a culture of habitually collecting and hoarding material objects, often for no real reason. But ask yourself: Why am I holding onto that cute/cool/sparkly- EMPTY pen my best friend's niece gave me for Valentine’s Day three years ago? Do I still need it? Truth is you probably don’t, and even if throwing it away still seems difficult you will never lose the memory attached to it.
Another great thing about being in the new year is that we do not even need to keep all the paper we have around us. There are magical machines and services that allow you to upload and store millions and millions of pages online. Do it!
Your work desk and wider workspace are not just the responsibility of a faceless nameless cleaner that appears when you go home. It is your responsibility to show that you are not a slob with no regard for those around you (even if you are in fact super, super creative). Do keep small touches of your personality around, making you happy and comfortable at your desk. Contain yourself - whether it is 2 or 20 pens, having them in a drawer or holder will instantly clear your space (although 20 might be excessive). And throw away your rubbish. You are not a magpie and do not need to collect coffee cups or bottle caps, I promise.
I personally love lists. I list and plan out everything from shopping, to packing to my daily schedule. While not everyone is great with lists or may have an amazing memory, jotting down your ‘to-do’ list is highly beneficial and recommended by many high ranking officials and mental health experts alike. Write down your tasks (electronically would be one step better and one less page!), mark off your list as you go and plan your next steps. Even if you write them purely to scratch them out and feel that sense of achievement!
(Oh - don’t forget to add “clean my desk” to your list!)