What your messy desk says about you


What does your desk look like? Do you have yellowing stacks of paper and a dusty coffee mug that's been sitting there for months. Or, is your desk spotless?  Whether you're a clean-freak, or your workspace resembles a pig-pen, the state of your desk on a daily basis may say a lot about you. Cleveland Clinic Psychologist Dr. Scott Bea says a dirty desk isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"A person with a messy work space looks like they may be very busy and engaged with work and a little bit less with cleaning their office," Bea explained.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found messy-desk people were more likely to break free of tradition, produce new or fresh ideas, and be more creative.

On the flip-side, people who kept their desks clean were more likely to "do the right thing," like: make charitable donations, or eat a healthy diet.

Bea says a clean desk may also reduce tension for some people because they may not like staring at all of the work that still needs to be done.

"And they live better with a lack of clutter in their lives and that reduces their tension, so I think a lot of times the cleanliness or messiness or our desks or offices says something about how we reduce tension as well," he added.

With so many more open office plans being used today, you're tidiness is often on display, whether you'd like it to be or not. So Bea says to avoid judging someone's workspace, especially if it looks disorganized, and ask them about it instead. He says there is often a method to someone's madness and in the end, messy, or clean, it comes down to what makes you most productive at work.

"Stick with the method that keeps your brain relatively free and uncluttered because I think it's the lack of clutters in your brain that going to make more of a difference than the clutter or lack of it on your desk," Bea explained.

Bea says if you find yourself not cleaning your desk enough, try putting it on your calendar each week. He says scheduling things is a healthy way to get things done.