HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog

Slideshow: Even More Messy Desks

View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Bad timing
naperlou   10/8/2012 10:49:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Wow, there are some great ones here.  What bad timing I have.  I just cleaned mine up.

Jennifer Campbell
User Rank
Gold
Re: Bad timing
Jennifer Campbell   10/8/2012 11:12:36 AM
NO RATINGS
Well, naperlou, if you are anything like your counterparts, I'm sure you will have something to show us in no time.

=)

richnass
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
richnass   10/8/2012 12:20:45 PM
NO RATINGS
I need to show these to my wife. Maybe she'll stop bothering me to clean up my office. One of the downsides of working from home.

Jennifer Campbell
User Rank
Gold
Re: Bad timing
Jennifer Campbell   10/8/2012 12:24:38 PM
NO RATINGS
I, for one, find organization in my chaos. I imagine this is true for a lot of people.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Ann R. Thryft   10/8/2012 6:30:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Jenn, I think the fact that you were inspired to do this slideshow by your own messy desk is funny. Mine used to be pretty insane back in the day, and someone told me it was a sign of a creative mind. That was comforting, and I always knew where everything was. But then I lost something really important in the stack--a credit card bill--and there were, um, consequences. Now I try to clean it up a lot more often. Plus, the available desktop area has gotten much smaller, so, I have to.

sbepko
User Rank
Iron
Re: Bad timing
sbepko   10/9/2012 10:25:37 AM
NO RATINGS
If a clean desk is the sign of a clean mind, what is an empty desk the sign of...?

ervin0072002
User Rank
Gold
Re: Bad timing
ervin0072002   10/9/2012 10:50:07 AM
NO RATINGS
An empty desk is a sign of a completed project.

78RPM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Bad timing
78RPM   10/9/2012 12:57:55 PM
NO RATINGS
I used to have a filing system: "Newest on the top; oldest on the bottom." Then our company adopted a clean desk policy -- for security of intellectual property. I got organized and cleaned up my act and found that I liked it. I adopted a new policy of tearing up failed experiments. If I wanted to keep an article I tore it out and filed it where I would use it instead of keeping the whole magazine.

Engineers are lucky not to have to abide by HIPAA confidentiality law that must be observed by clinics and hospitals. If they work with such clients they must understand their role in keeping confidential info locked up.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Jon Titus   10/9/2012 11:25:26 AM
An empty desk is a sign of someone who got laid off.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Ann R. Thryft   10/9/2012 12:30:22 PM
NO RATINGS
Voigt's "workspace" is unbelievable. I guess it could be worse--there are actual aisles between the piles--but doesn't it take at least as much time to find stuff as it does to work? Aside from that lost bill, I eventually became a neatnik in my office, workshop, and kitchen because I hated having an inspiration and then not being able to do it for want of finding the tools. By the time I found the tools/backup info/whatever the inspiration might have disappeared and I was an unhappy, frustrated non-creator.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Charles Murray   10/9/2012 7:28:10 PM
NO RATINGS
I've talked about being a neatnik. I've even made plans to clean up more often. Never seems to happen, though.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Ann R. Thryft   10/10/2012 12:06:42 PM
NO RATINGS
I clean up periodically, since I periodically get gridlock from not being able to find things.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Charles Murray   10/10/2012 6:14:43 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, I've always been curious about how much time I must spend looking for stuff I've lost. I'll bet that 10% of my time goes to that category.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Ann R. Thryft   10/11/2012 1:37:35 PM
NO RATINGS
Chuck, if it's only 10% of your time, then I say why bother cleaning up? When I said gridlock I mean more like 30%-plus; that amount can definitely affect productivity.

oldpartsnrust
User Rank
Iron
Re: Bad timing
oldpartsnrust   10/11/2012 8:40:09 PM
NO RATINGS
I must spend 25-30% of the time I am working on something looking for where I put a particular tool (usually the tape measure) or pencil.  I actually buy 2 or 3 of just about every tool so when I go back to a project, the tools are nearby.  Otherwise I would have to go looking all over the house, garage and shed to find something I need.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Bad timing
Ann R. Thryft   10/12/2012 11:58:25 AM
NO RATINGS
That's exactly what I want to avoid: wasting time looking for "tools" needed to do the job--including pieces of paper if it's in the office--instead of doing the fun part. My kitchen is highly organized for that reason. I love to cook, but I hate to not find a tool in it's place. Now if only I could keep my office as organized as my kitchen...

erichv
User Rank
Silver
My 2nd Place Acceptance Address:
erichv   10/30/2012 10:24:56 AM
NO RATINGS
I am a bit let down at only scoring # 2 in this second leg of this "competition" but I am chuffed in getting 50% of the picture coverage  even though the last pic was not really representative of the matter at hand – The photos were taken to do a 360° panorama of the room and dates to somewhere in the 200x's – I should possibly have taken a new set of pics as technology has changed the general theme of the area somewhat.

My apologies to contradict some of the Clean Desk proponents here but, I can assure you that I can, 99.9 % of the time, lay my hand on any tool, device, screw, component, whatever might be in my study.

The subject of this thread restricted the entries to "desks" else I could have taken you though the door at the end of my study to my garage that probably contains 2 x as much stuff as does my study but more boxed and stored away than here in my area of activity.

As far as documents go, once a year, I capture everything required to submit my Tax Returns from the year's (Pandora's)(photocopy)) box and then file it way marked clearly with that tax year's dates.

I can find the sales slip of the new kettle I bought 18 months ago (as well as the box it was packed in) and return it for its 24 month warrantee as I can for the Pioneer Quadrophonic sound system I bought 40 years ago and still works in the lounge ( as well as it's boxes in the roof of the garage!)

And then I probably do not need to remind anyone of the layout of the human brain? Also a "mess" and, to date, man has been able to discover what certain area do but for the rest, they have no idea what gives. But I can recover images and thoughts for most of my 65 years with such speed and clarity "it boggles the mind!"

No clean desk policy in there!!  :)

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Hard to believe
Cadman-LT   10/8/2012 12:52:20 PM
NO RATINGS
I am kind of a neat freak, but how people can work in messes like that is beyond me! 

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: Hard to believe
notarboca   10/15/2012 12:40:22 AM
NO RATINGS
I am not a compulsive neat freak, but I couldn't find a part or tool on some of these desks without the aid of GPS and a recent tetanus vaccination.

NadineJ
User Rank
Platinum
Very Fun
NadineJ   10/8/2012 5:08:46 PM
NO RATINGS
Besides 3D printers and EV conspiracies, we tend to love messy desks here.

Variety is the spice of life, as the saying goes.  Some people are neat and unproductive.  Some are messy and productive.  And, most fall somewhere in between.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Impressive
Charles Murray   10/8/2012 6:30:12 PM
NO RATINGS
These are some impressively messy desks. Mike Carter gets the Biggest Mess award because his work space appears to be tipping over. Erich Voight is a close second based on sheer scope. It must take a great deal of fortitude to continue working under these conditions.

Jon Titus
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Impressive
Jon Titus   10/8/2012 7:22:27 PM
I agree with your selections, Charles.  Bet there's a pack of 8-inch floppy disks somewhere in Mike Carter's work area.  I'm a neat-freak compared to the people who submitted these photos.

gsmith120
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Impressive
gsmith120   10/9/2012 9:46:54 AM
NO RATINGS
Wow!! I thought an ex-coworker's desk was messy but nothing compared to the ones in the slide show.  He had what I called a functional messy office.  The man could find anything at any time on his desk and floor piles.  It was amazing.

ervin0072002
User Rank
Gold
Re: Impressive
ervin0072002   10/9/2012 9:57:05 AM
When I first got hired, we had a lot of messy desks with a lot of material. Their self-made excuse was they could find everything they needed and only went to the stock room very rarely. This way they saved time. Then I parked myself in the middle of the lab with a stop watch. It turned out that we spent less time going to the stock room then looking for anything in a messy desk. 3 weeks later and 5 boxes (5'x5'x5' boxes) of trash we actually have desk space to work on. Now we only order what we need. No searching as everything is ordered in Microsoft access. And you don't lose your current project to a trash avalanche.... Now I was lucky some one senior to me listened and agreed with throwing everything out. Later he forced everyone else to participate. To this day people still complain how they could find things in an instant before the cleanup. Junk that you will not use the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years should not be saved but rather recycled. It should all be proportional to its value, size, and frequency of use.

Electron Boy
User Rank
Iron
Re: Impressive
Electron Boy   10/9/2012 10:46:15 AM
NO RATINGS
I think I see the fish on the printer.

Dave Palmer
User Rank
Platinum
Clean Desk Award
Dave Palmer   10/9/2012 10:25:21 AM
I recently won a "clean desk award" at work, which was a source of amusement to my co-workers, since, as a failure analyst, my desk is covered with broken parts. (Although it is nothing like the desks in this slideshow!)

On the other hand, there were no confidential documents on my desk, which is what the clean desk police were looking for.  Other co-workers, who have otherwise immaculate desks, were denied the prize because they had a phone list next to their phone -- apparently, our phone list is confidential.

The prize was a free lunch in the company cafeteria -- who says there's no such thing?  

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Chicken or the Egg
ChasChas   10/9/2012 11:14:31 AM
NO RATINGS
Did shame turn to pride or pride turn to shame?

A celebration of our human part.

rebowker
User Rank
Iron
"Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere..."
rebowker   10/9/2012 11:55:31 AM
NO RATINGS
My take is this: there is a messy desk, and then there is a messy desk. One messy desk is piled with data from past projects, white papers, spec sheets, etc., basically a free air open-looped file cabinet. That is geniune messy. In another blog post I stated messy desk vs clean desk are two different information management strategies. In the end the benchmark is how much time it takes to find whatever is being looked for. THEN there is a messy desk. That just needs to be cleaned up. I'm sorry, I see that coke cans and serpentine tangled phone cords are not included in the true spirit of the open-looped free air information management style of our revered engineering forefathers.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
other people
Cadman-LT   10/15/2012 6:03:14 PM
NO RATINGS
I remember when I was a machinist I kept my toolbox perfect as well as the shop itself. Every tool in it's place. I worked 1st shift and I would almost always spend 20-30 minutes every morning cleaning up what 2nd and 3rd shift had done. I just couldn't work in the mess. It was pretty bad.

Tom M.
User Rank
Silver
Re: other people
Tom M.   12/5/2013 9:16:18 AM
NO RATINGS
When I was a manager I never told the people working for me how to keep their area organized, I just expected them to be able to do their job.  Messy, clean, no matter, as long as you do your job it's OK by me.


The problem came when I had 2 guys working for me, one who was messy (and forgetful) and another who was very organized.  The problem was that the messy guy tended to lose his tools because he never put them back where they belonged, instead he would just leave them where he last used them.  Then when he needed a tool he wouldn't look for his, if the organized guy wasn't around he would grab his tools (without telling him or leaving a note), use them, and then usually lose those!  I had to referee a couple of shouting matches between these guys.

I told the messy guy this was about respect, he couldn't take stuff other people were responsible for (or sometimes even owned personally) without permission.  He said look I'm just trying to get the job done as quickly as possible, I don't have time to clean up every 5 minutes.  I told him every 5 days would probably be OK but I had never seen him arrange his area at all.  Again, that's up to him but he can't mess up another guy's area or hinder him in doing his job.

I finally bought the organized guy a tool cabinet and gave him the only key.  That solved the tool problem but there was still resentment between the guys.  Along with The Great Ongoing Thermostat Argument - a subject for another time - this is why I got out of management!

Tom M.

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: other people
Cadman-LT   12/5/2013 10:36:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Tom M, when I started there, well I had some tools from previous jobs, but like every job there were some specific ones you needed. The company supplied them, but I could never find them. That led to me buying all my own tools which I shouldn't have had to do. 

 It's just different when you HAVE to work with other people and share things, totally different when you have your own cube or office. If the work gets done, who cares to each their own.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Messy desks versus those compulsive neat freaks.
William K.   12/11/2012 8:37:35 PM
NO RATINGS
There is a HUGE difference between neat and organized, and at the same time, they are not mutually exclusive. BUt some take neatness to a stupid extreme. When I worked at Methode Electronics Division they got a new lab manager whose lack ot technical skills was more than made up for by his penchant for neatness. The extreme was rearranging the shelves where the different engineers stored their project materials. Insteaqd of each engineer having a specific shelf for their materials, he moved things so that each shelf had a similar looking arrangement of boxes and packages, with no consideration of what belonged to whom. So folks would need to go through all of the shelves to find their parts. That was neatness taken to a stupid level. 

dhenz
User Rank
Iron
Re: Even More Messy Desks
dhenz   5/9/2013 5:05:57 AM
NO RATINGS
Im also having hard time to clean my office desks. Rearranging all my stuff is not easy. It'll take time since I was loaded with a lot of tasks. Simple thing I'm doing to clean it up: I separate the unecessary items to avoid distraction.

DarwinE
User Rank
Iron
Maybe we just don't have enough space
DarwinE   4/26/2013 3:02:10 PM
NO RATINGS
As DeMarco and Lister showed in Peopleware http://amzn.to/12NzfR7 productivity is directly proportional to one's office floor space and directly proportional to one's desktop area.  So why do we still find ourselves engineering the world in such (clearly) cramped quarters?

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Maybe we just don't have enough space
William K.   5/11/2013 10:35:56 PM
NO RATINGS
Darwine, you bring up an interesting concept thatI had not considered previously. BUT it does make sense. Clearly, havng an adequate amount of space to work in is a way to enable greater productivity. But space alone may not be nessesary as the only way. Having the needed resources helps a lot also.

stevecornette
User Rank
Iron
Messy Desks
stevecornette   7/5/2013 8:47:28 AM
NO RATINGS
My desk is like an archeological dig.....

The more layers you uncover the farther back in time you go!

Ha ha ha ha...

fredsay
User Rank
Gold
Messy desks
fredsay   12/5/2013 8:54:51 AM
NO RATINGS
A CLEAN desk is a sign of a sick mind.

Fred

Partner Zone
More Blogs
Here's a variety of views into the complex production processes at Santa's factory. Happy Holidays!
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Thanks to 3D printing, some custom-made prosthetic limbs, and a Lego set, one lucky dog and a tortoise has learned new tricks.
With Radio Shack on the ropes, let's take a memory trip through the highlights of Radio Shack products.
Computer security firm Norton has partnered with clothing company Betaband on a pair of jeans that will keep your RFID-tagged credit cards and documents safe from wireless theft.
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service