Clutter can be a source of distraction and an obstacle to getting work done. A cluttered desk, or its electronic counterpart, your laptop’s desktop and your mail inbox, can affect your productivity.
In your defense, you can quote Albert Einstein famous quote1:
If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk
But chances are that if our desk is a mess, it’s not because we are like Einstein, but because we postpone small decisions over the things that land on our desktop. Do it, delegate it, archive it, file it for later reference or delete it, but don’t let it linger on your desktop or inbox.
About the title of this post: I read (or heard) the original quote in Spanish some time ago, but I didn’t record the source: Un escritorio desordenado está lleno de decisiones no tomadas. I haven’t been able to track down the original author. The title of this post is my translation of the phrase to English.