We’ll admit it, despite what our mother told us, we’re guilty of occasionally judging a book by its cover. We assume a person will act a certain way based on what they’re wearing, what kind of coffee they order, or where we see them. Believe it or not, people also make snap judgments based on someone’s workplace. A desk, office, or cubicle could be saying things about a person when they aren’t even there. So the question is: What does yours say about you?

Productive, but lacking in character

Too Organized

If your desk is neatly organized, people might assume that you’re a freak of organizing nature. Many studies have shown that people with clean and organized work places tend to be more organized and efficient. So not only does a desk make you appear more prepared, but it might also make you more so.

However, a clean desk can also make you look boring or passionless. Without the personal touches of a more cluttered desk, people might assume that you have no interests. They may also assume that since you haven’t taken the time to personalize your space, you don’t want to be there and don’t enjoy what you’re doing.

Paper piles in the creative pigsty

Messy Desk

If your desk is a mess, people might assume that you’re messy, lazy or disorganized. They may even go as far as assuming that you are unable to handle big tasks and won’t be able to meet deadlines.

What those people don’t realize is that many studies show how messy spaces can inspire creativity. People who have more clutter and things on their desk often come up with more innovative and creative solutions. Your messy desk might show how creative you really are, not to mention the fact that you’re too busy doing your job to keep your desk spotless.

What’s the best solution for you?

Organized but Creative

So, how clean should you keep your desk? The answer is up to you. Find a level of mess that works best for you, but don’t go overboard. If your desk is too clean, bring in some colorful artwork and some conversation starter pieces. If you’re a little too overboard on the pigsty method, you should grab yourself a 14-pack of vibrant Sarasa pens, and get organized! Start by color-coding your manila folders using different colors to designate priority, and use different colors on sticky notes for helpful reminders.