The old adage says ‘tidy house, tidy mind’, but there is conflicting information out there as to whether this extends to ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’. Some people say creativity is boosted by a messy desk, other people prefer a more minimalist approach. In many modern offices, a clear desk policy is normal – but often this has more to do with the security of documents than it has to do with the employees’ ability to concentrate.
Roald Dahl, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are just some well-known figures who have thrived in a messy workspace. Einstein is famously quoted as saying “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”.
The reality is, as in all areas of life, we are all different. If you work from home, like I do, it really is your choice how messy or tidy your desk is. Personally, I prefer a tidy desk – although this does not mean I’m not prone to the occasional paper explosion! Recently, I had a review of my desk set up and made some changes to prevent the recurrence of an old repetitive strain injury. It was the perfect opportunity to invest in a few handy gadgets to keep my desk tidy too, so I thought I’d share them for those of you out there who really don’t like a messy desk!
No matter how big or small my desk is, I seem to use every inch of it during the course of the day. More recently, this has been made worse as I now work across two different laptops as well as using a monitor to extend my screen. I needed to find a stand which was capable of holding both laptops at the right height level for my seated position. I found a range of stands on various websites, but settled with a dual laptop stand from Thingy Club. They don’t sell a dual laptop stand as standard, but were happy to make up a special order for me at the price of their dual monitor/laptop stand. The stand clamps on to your existing desk, no need for drills and screws and it’s really easy to move it if you’ve managed to set it up in the wrong place. I was so pleased with it, that I went on to order their monitor stand, which has created a lot more space on my desk. Not only that, it means I can move the laptops and monitor closer or out of the way as I need to.
Cables, Cables, Cables…
In this wireless age, there is one force that cannot be tamed outside of wires… electricity. Depending on what I’m working on and how well charged the laptops are, at any given time there are between 6-8 gadgets on or around my desk which are plugged in. I have a brilliant 10 socket extension tower which I can turn off over night but what to do with all the wires!! I managed to find these great cable ties on Amazon which are reusable as they are velcro. I have a sit-stand desk, so I did my cable tidy while it was at standing height. My desk has a cable port, so where I could, I ran the cables through there and before plugging them in, had a think about which would be static and which would be plugged in and out. Then I added the ties where necessary and hey presto, tidy wires!
I also used these Cable Clip Organizers to tame a few cables which were hanging down or sticking out, just to stop myself from catching them with my feet.
I’d sorted the wires outside of my desk, but what about those in the drawers. I’m forever pulling out a phone charger to find it attached to three other things. I found these great little cable fasteners which you plug your charger in to and then coil the cable around it. It also has a little clip which you can fasten the end of the cable with to stop it uncoiling. Simple, but genius!
Pens, Pencils and Paperclips
I was really struggling to find a pen pot that I liked, so I did a bit of digging and eventually found this – the PenZen Bamboo Desk Organiser. It has rubber extrusions which cleverly hold on to your pens, while the hidden magnet in the casing holds on to those rogue paperclips lurking around your desk. I really like how it looks and the flexibility to lay it on any side depending on your preference. I complemented it with a bamboo business card/phone holder from Finoak.
The least sensible purchase I made, I thought was a bit of fun, although my husband didn’t agree – he thought it a little weird. I seem to collect elastic bands and find them a little fiddly to store. I didn’t have enough for an elastic band ball, so instead I treated myself to a Mummy Mike! Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like him!