I will never win any awards for having a clean desk. But once it gets past a certain level of chaos, I can’t seem to concentrate on anything other than… that mess of papers… the unread mail… all those things I still need to process or put away (oh, and that stuff really belongs in the kitchen, and that magazine’s been on here for weeks because I never got around to reading it).
At that point, I find that it’s usually more time efficient to do a little straightening before sitting back down to work — frankly, I practically have to, or else my productivity plummets and I can barely keep my thoughts straight.
I keep thinking I should train myself to work in less than optimally tidy environments. But probably the easier thing is to train myself to keep my desk tidier. What about you? Can you work when your desk is a disaster?