Blogs » Digital Babble » What does your workspace say about you?


I'm not the most organized person around, but I like to keep an orderly workspace at the office.

It can be tough to keep a mess from piling up especially with all the bad harddrives, network cables, CD cases, and empty cans of Red Bull that seem to accumulate on my desk. I won't even begin to count all the computers and other equipment in my office, we'd be here all night. But I try my hardest to keep everything organized enough to maintain my sanity and to prevent anyone from getting injured when they enter my office. At the end of the day I usually de-clutter my desk, wipe it down with disinfectant, and use anti-bacterial solution on my phone, keyboard and mouse. (I hate germs.)

Doing this helps me work in a more efficient manner (no scrambling around looking for items I misplaced), and believe it or not, prevents me from catching colds that circulate in the office,thank goodness for anti-bacterial gel. (I don't care what the studies show, it works for me.)

So imagine my delight when I read the following on

Not my desk.

From CNN

Is a messy office hazardous to your career?

Some believe a cluttered desk makes a bad impression, others feel that it's a sign of a creative mind. What do bosses think?

By Anne Fisher, FORTUNE senior writer

Dear Annie: Please settle an argument. A co-worker (and friend) of mine says that my messy cubicle makes a bad impression on our boss. I say, who cares whether my office looks as if a hurricane blew through it, as long as I get my work done? Who is right? —Pigpen

Dear Pigpen: Well, personally, I've always subscribed to the old maxim, "A clean desk is the sign of an empty mind." But according to Christine Reiter, a productivity specialist at Corporate Coaching International in Pasadena, Calif., I am wrong, and your friend has a point.

"People often don't realize that piles of paper, boxes in corners, and stacks of stuff behind the office door can affect one's upward mobility," she says. "Appearances are important."

Why? "Your office is a reflection of your capabilities," Reiter says. "Even though a messy desk isn't a sign of a character flaw, it does tend to give your managers and peers the impression that the job is too much for you to handle, you can't make decisions, you are not doing the job, or all of the above."

The article contains tips on how to tidy up your workspace:

  • Store the information and materials you use most often within easy reach — perhaps in your right-hand desk drawer.

  • Put things away as soon as you stop working on them. If you're working on something and get interrupted, try posting a sticky note on the page, jot your thoughts on it, and then file it, Reiter suggests. That will help you pick up your train of thought more quickly when you get back to it again.

  • Keep a to-do list close at hand, preferably sorted by category (Do, Call, Write, etc.). Update it at the end of each day.

  • Set up a filing system. Many people feel more secure when all their active projects are in sight, Reiter notes, but that doesn't mean everything has to be strewn across your desk (or okay, in my case, the floor).

  • So what is your workspace like?