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Always Make Your Bed (err Desk)

Happy Wednesday, Team!

I have been thinking a lot about “bedside manner” this week and how it relates to work and our interactions.  Bedside manner refers to the way a doctor interacts and communicates with patients.  Two doctors could do the exact same exam and share the exact same findings with a patient, but the way the findings will be received by the patient and its impact can depend entirely on how the doctor interacts with the patient.  Doctors that tend to offend or are abrupt are often said to have poor bedside manner.  Conversely, doctors that can demonstrate empathy and kindness are said to have better bedside manner.  Studies are finding that doctors with good bedside manner have improved relationships with patients, and thus greater commitment as a partnership, resulting in improved overall patient health.  Bedside manner kind of sounds like the old adages “it’s 10% what you say, and 90% how you say it,” and “you catch more flies with honey.”

I am including a link to a short address by a former Navy SEAL, Admiral McCraven.  LINK HERE  He has simple advice with great reasoning of why to make your bed every day.  Applying that to business, your desk and office area is your bed (bear with me here)–it’s an extremely beneficial habit to get into of cleaning and organizing your desk before you leave each day.

  • Business Reasons: There’s great business reasons to make sure your desk is cleared off every night before you go home–most companies of any size require each employee clear their desk at night to help with confidentiality of information, privacy of information, safety, and ensure things don’t just get up and walk away.  It helps you be more organized and not accidentally get an important paper mixed in the wrong file or pile, or lost altogether.  Oh, and it just looks so much more professional!
  • Personal Reasons: But a clean desk also benefits YOUR attitude and perspective each day.  Clutter weighs us down subconsciously.  Each item on your desk is talking to you, begging for your attention (whether its important or not). When you walk in each morning to a clean desk, you don’t start your day with all that weight. You can start your day being in control of what truly needs attention.  By cleaning off your desk each night and organizing for the next day, you’re getting two benefits for the price of one–you have the satisfaction of accomplishing at least one goal for your day, and in the morning you have the satisfaction of starting your day with a clean slate.

Now I say all this being that person who needs to clean her desk. I kept up on it every night for the first several months in this office, because I knew from past experience the weight it can create otherwise. But as the wheels of progress spun faster, the piles started creeping up on me. And now it weighs on me every day looking at that stack, that stack I can’t seem to put a dent in.

So what’s the takeaway here–as much as I thought the companies I worked for in the past were being unreasonable in requiring desks be cleared each night, I have really grown to appreciate and relish the habit.  Have a listen to the Admiral on making your bed, and see if your desk isn’t the same type concept.