They say that a cluttered desk is an indication of a cluttered mind. However, they also say that an empty desk is an indication of an empty mind. All we can really take from this is that “they” clearly cannot be trusted.
While you might expect that desk cleanliness is a matter of personal comfort and each employee should work in the conditions they prefer, studies have actually found that the messier someone’s desk is, the more efficient their work.
The fastest way to strip a document of all relevance, accessibility and usefulness is to file it. Documents put into a filing cabinet or neatly archived in folders will never be seen again. While this is fantastic for process and methodology documents, for documents that are actually needed it can be a curse.
In contrast, files simply left on a desk will follow the laws of Darwinian theory and survive or not depending on their importance. Oft-used files will gravitate towards the top of volcano-like piles, while less useful ones will drift to the bottom, eventually to be stuck to the desk with a combination of spilt coffee and smears of blu-tac.
There are times when Plankton is visited by important members of society: clients, film crews and Nigerian royalty who are down on their luck. At these times management will ask us to ensure that our desks do not reflect poorly on Plankton's image. Many take this as a request to clean up their desks, but it is in fact a request to make sure your desk is as messy as possible. After all, by proudly displaying the mess you are demonstrating the productivity that helps Plankton thrive.