A Cluttered Desk is the Sign of a Cluttered Mind

Mortgage and Lending with Infinity Financial Group

As the saying goes, "A cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind." How can prospects or clients have any faith in your ability to work on their behalf, if they see a desk overflowing with paper? Or, in this computer age, if they visit your office and watch you spend valuable time sifting through emails and folders, trying to locate pertinent information regarding their account?

To the client, a lack of organization projects a negative image. It symbolically waves a distress flag, which could cause them to run in the opposite direction. Take some basic steps to alter the appearance of an overcrowded, unorganized work environment and help fend off clutter.

If you have an assistant, delegate some of your responsibilities to free up some of your time. Remember, "No man (or woman) is an island." For your purpose, that means mail can be opened and prioritized by an administrative assistant, while you tend to other business. Some bosses even arrange for their office assistant to have access to their email inbox.

If you work alone, then you must handle every facet of your business. Schedule a consistent time each day for opening both mail delivered by the post office and email, and respond immediately whenever possible to get it off your plate. File correspondence systematically so you know exactly where to find it in the blink of an eye. Record notes on a hand-held recorder to follow up on loose ends.

Author and efficiency expert Maria Gracia offers simple organizing solutions.* She says regardless of your business stature, whether management, sales staff or administrative assistant, better organization saves time and increases productivity.

Garcia notes the importance of learning to say "no." Some people extend themselves beyond reason, then fall short and appear inadequate. But time, like office space, can become cluttered or overburdened, especially for Real Estate professionals, lenders and others who rely on networking as a means of advancing their businesses.

She also advises her readers not to feel obligated to say "yes" to everyone who asks for a favor. In other words, don't over-commit. Be selective when it comes to volunteering time and energy. You can offer to assist with a small portion of a project, but don't agree to organize the entire event. And, if you're truly in a time crunch and can't possibly help, politely, but firmly, just say "no." That will earn you greater respect as someone who can organize time and space.

Comments (9)

Todd Murphy
Fitts Agency - Tuscaloosa, AL
Now your hurting my feelings, John, but you are absolutely correct.
May 22, 2007 10:42 PM
Timothy Schwartz
Century 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie - Marlboro Twp, NJ
John, you are right but sometimes it is difficult to say no because as Realtors it is important to be involved in the community and it becomes an opportunity to network.  It all comes down to balance.
May 22, 2007 10:43 PM
John Caylor
Infinity Financial Group - Post Falls, ID
Post Falls, ID Mortgages

Sorry about Todd  LOL



May 22, 2007 10:48 PM
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
John, I had a cluttered desk, so I hired an assistant.  Now I have two cluttered desks...   :o)
May 22, 2007 10:49 PM
Michael Thomas
First SEO Consultants - Scottsdale, AZ
Real Estate Website Optimization
I'm with Brian - I would be lost without my assitant to help clear my desk - nice post!
May 22, 2007 10:52 PM
Susie Roscoe
Signature Realty Associates - Brandon, FL
Real Estate Specialist | Brandon, FL
I have to admit my HOME OFFICE is a bit wild right now---but amazingly my clients think I'm very organized and put together.  THEN...I come home again to the mess and now YOU know my secret as well!!  It's time to clean...*and* I'm (once again) the one who can't say NO often enough when it's time to volunteer for something.  I'm bad about overextending myself and feeling the stress before it's all over and done with.  GREAT POST!!!
May 22, 2007 10:54 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
One you get the desk cleaned up and prioritized, keep it that way. The joy of being able to FIND things is a wonderful feeling!!  Thanks for a great post.
May 22, 2007 11:54 PM
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate

"If a cluttered desktop signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty desktop signify?"


Good post, John.

May 23, 2007 12:03 AM
Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC
That's not clutter. I use a horizontal filing system while most people use a vertical system.
May 23, 2007 12:10 AM