How a person leaves their office desk can tell you a lot about them.
Is it organized chaos, bursting with new plans and ideas to take the world by storm? Do sentimental photos of family and moments adorn the area surrounding the workspace? Is the desk organized, meticulously cleaned, and orderly?
The structure of a person’s work environment, along with the routines they use for enhancing productivity while at the office, can help give us insight on how they work best – and this becomes especially interesting when we look at the strategies and tactics used by some of the world’s most extraordinary people.
Famous Desks and What We Can Learn
Today’s infographic comes from the Pens.com, and it highlights the work habits, routines, and desks from extraordinary people like Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Let’s see what we can take away from these examples:
Each approach above is unique – and each set of tactics helps that extraordinary person in getting closer to reaching their objective.
Lessons from the Greats
Here are some of our favorite lessons that we thought were the most tangible:
Consistent with his grey t-shirt and jeans approach to his wardrobe, Zucks also keeps his workspace simple. He doesn’t have an office, and instead works with the same desk setup as every other Facebook employee.
Lesson: As a leader, the way you dress and set up your work environment also communicates your values to the organization and the outside world. Mark Zuckerberg keeps his environment simple to help him focus on the bigger problems, and this vision shines through crystal clear to inspire the people around him.
At the Tesla office, Elon Musk set his desk up at the end of the Model X assembly line so he could personally inspect each finished vehicle.
Lesson: When doing something bold and visionary, there must be constant attention to detail to ensure that the end product meshes with the vision. Elon could have put his desk somewhere with a nice view, or in a corner office. Instead, by setting up his desk in this strategic position, it gave him assurance that the vehicles coming off the line were going to meet his uncompromising quality standards.
Einstein believed that cluttered desks were the sign of a cluttered brain, with lots of things going on. As such, he wondered what was going on in the brains of people with perfectly tidy workspaces!
Einstein also thought that combining unrelated concepts to generate new, creative ideas was a secret of genius.
Lesson: Studies have shown that messy desks are linked to creativity – something that Einstein needed when solving “outside the box” physics problems like relativity.
For anyone that has read her book, Sleep Revolution, it’s clear Arianna Huffington believes that people are generally quite sleep-deprived. For these reasons, she encourages naps to boost productivity in the workplace.
Lesson: Arianna Huffington has “owned” the discussion around sleep, and how proper habits can help with work productivity. It’s no surprise she walks the talk, as well.
Hemingway thought he did his best work standing up, and he also kept a tally of his daily word count in front of him.
Lesson: While studies show working while standing up can enhance productivity by 10% – more importantly, Hemingway did what works best for him, even though it was unconventional. He also knew that monitoring his most important KPI, and keeping that metric right in front of him, would allow him to best gauge his progress on achieving his vision.
Article by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist