I beg to differ.
As you can see in the image above, former US Vice President and current environmental activist Al Gore has quite the mess in his office. Does this mean that he is terribly disorganized? No, not necessarily. There is such a thing as organized chaos. Despite having so much on his plate, so to speak, he can likely tell you where most things are if you request them.
Surrounded by Work
In fact, it’s almost because he has so much to do, so much to manage, and so much to remember, that such a configuration may be the only way to absorb all of that material. It is almost as if he is implementing the process of osmosis, surrounding himself by what he needs to know, allowing his brain to passively digest content even when it is in his periphery.
Speaking for myself, my desk always starts out with a certain level of organization. Everything has its place and there’s a place for everything. However, this level of organization starts to break down as new review products cross my way, more notes are taken, and more mail is received. Even so, I am generally aware of where I can find something if I need it.
Clean It Up
Every once a while, you may choose to break the pattern and take a day to re-organize your office. That’s a good reprieve from the usual grind of daily work and it’ll help you maintain appearances, but it may not necessarily do anything for your productivity.
It may have a temporary effect on lifting your spirits though, and this can be a good thing. Just don’t expect a more organized desk to lead to a more organized working environment. The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. Instead, it almost pays to invest more time in your digital management than your physical one.
Straight Out of IKEA
What about you? Do you work among “organized chaos” or do you have a prim and proper desk that is fit for a catalog?