Tidy Your Desk to Fit Your Image

We’ve all seen desks neater than a pin and those hopelessly cluttered with papers. Can you “read” a person’s workspace much as you would pick up on his or her body language? Yes, says Samuel Gosling, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You. A lot can be said about us from a quick glimpse of our belongings and personal spaces, including our desks, offices, bedrooms, websites, iPods and more. Gosling finds that some of the easiest cues are openness (from inviting spaces, open doors, comfortable seating) and conscientiousness (that’s for the organized spaces, where planners and calendars are actually used). He says someone can discover more about who you are by your "stuff" and how you arrange it than through a conversation with you.

You think you know who you are, but your desk might say otherwise. If your workplace doesn’t reflect the real you, maybe some changes are in order.


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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