It is typically twice a year I take the time – or I find the time – to give my desk and office a thorough cleaning. For some reason, I feel guilty organizing my space – much more so than any guilt I might feel in letting it pile up.
The first bi-annual cleaning pass comes around the Christmas or Holiday break. Most offices seem to be on a mental hiatus anyway, with staffers partaking in holiday cookie exchanges and ugly sweater contests, or even recuperating from the Holiday Happy Hour the night before. Often associates are out of the office diligently using their remaining time off before the end of the calendar year resets the clock. It is then I can find an afternoon to dig in, unearth and organize.
The second time of year my office receives its due attention is usually sometime during the summer. There tends to be at least one or two days where, in the good way of a perfect storm, projects are done, phones and emails are quiet, and my clients or associates are on vacation. This means regularly scheduled meetings are cancelled. How joyous those one or two free hours seem.
At one company I worked, the department head implemented one component of Six Sigma. She thought we marketers were a messy bunch (in full disclosure Dawn did once receive the Golden Shovel award from another department). For one week we underwent training to organize and rearrange, learning everything should have its place and could be found. To ensure nothing went lost or missing, we put a label under every item on the shelf or desktop. Stapler. Monitor. Photo Frame.
Yes, even the rock received a label. I have an inspirational paperweight given to me by a co-worker years ago, and even that, when you lifted it from its spot on my desk, had a label to ensure I would notice if it was gone. It usually got a good laugh when people picked up the rock to look at it and found the label identifying its location.
I’m confident I’ll never label everything like that ever again, but for two weeks each year I feel proud of myself (nice little pat-on-the-back moments) and admire my clean and organized office. I appreciate there is actually a desktop surface underneath the file folders and documents on my desk. And maybe even a label.