Creative minds are rarely tidy?

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Why? Because I admit that my desk is not the neatest in the office. To the untrained eye, it may appear messy and disorganized. I prefer to think of it as organized chaos. It’s how I function best – all my stuff around me in piles, easily accessible when that germ of an idea hits. I know where everything is, what pile it’s in, what scrap of paper that note or phone number is written on and pretty much what’s on deadline and what’s not. And I save things. For me, it’s a healthy and creative working environment. Others may view it as a safety hazard.

My colleague across the room is totally opposite. Rarely do you see papers on her desk, a pen out of place or a file not filed. She saves only what is absolutely necessary. It’s her style.

According to an OH &S blog posted by Jo Eismont, each of us fits into a work style category: the Information Junkie, the Home from Homer, the Machine and the Chaos Theory. My co-worker is the Machine; clarity of focus, only necessary items on her desk, regularly cleans up her area getting rid of anything old or irrelevant. If you borrow her desk space for any reason, you better make sure that everything is back in its place when you are done. Sometimes I move things on her desk just to see how long it will take her to move them back.

I am a proud student of the Chaos Theory. Notes and scraps of paper everywhere; evidence of being struck by the idea that I need to write down before I forget. There are random notes pinned to the wall, jumping from one idea to the next; stacks of magazines to read, a coffee cup and numerous pens found strewn about.

We make a great team because believe it or not, our styles complement each other. She doesn’t try to convert me to her style and I don’t try to convert her to mine. It just works. Working from my desk would drive her crazy and vice versa.

The point being, just as each of us learns differently, each of us has our own working style. And it’s how we work best. There’s no right way to keep your desk and there’s no right way to work. Our workstations are comfort zones. They are an extension of our personality. So, if you want to get the best out of your employees, don’t mess with their system.

That is all.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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