The second group of distractions to remove from your desk are items that fall into three different groups.

Knick Knacks

There really is no reason to have knick knacks on your desk.  They are a true distraction because you look at them and several thoughts probably come into your mind in seconds:

  1. I love that little stuffed animal doggie.
  2. I remember that David bought it for me.
  3. I remember where we were when I got it.
  4. I remember why I got that stuffed doggie.


All of those thoughts just took you totally off your project and into a story about the memory of receiving that doggie knick knack.  While it may put a smile on your face, how much time did thinking about that memory just cost you? 


Let alone the fact that your boss walks into your office and doesn’t think you look professional.  Did that cost you an important project or a promotion?


Advertising Specialties

Similarly, advertising specialties are also distractors. I can’t tell you how many times I see advertising items all over someone’s desk.  And most of them are practically cousins to the knick knacks — worth nothing, not useful at work.  However, they do the one thing they are supposed to do – they promote the name of a company and you think of that company or its products when you see it.  So they distract you from your work. You really don’t need a cute little box or cube item taking up valuable work space on your desk.  If you don’t need it, or will never use it, let it go.  

Technically, don’t even take it in the first place, especially if you received it at a trade show or conference.  So many trade show promotional items are not useful; so why take something you can’t or won’t use? 

Sometimes you get a practical item like a pen, highlighter or notepad. Keep it only if you will use it.  For instance I don’t like black ink, so I rarely find a pen I would use because it doesn’t write in blue ink.  Many of these advertising items are little and don’t need to take up desk space either, so keep them inside your desk–only if you intend to use it!   

And if it’s not even a desk item, but you would use it in the office, put it inside a drawer .  i.e. If you got a stress ball and you want to try one, put it inside your desk drawer and take it out when you want it.  If you find you’re not using it,  give it away.

If you do take something useful and don’t want it after the conference, leave it in your room for the hotel staff. Someone will use it — if it’s useful.


Children’s Artwork

The same holds true for artwork your children made.  They do not look professional and don’t belong in the office.  And, of course, they totally distract you into thinking about your children. They should not be on your desk, nor hanging on a file cabinet with a magnet.  The office isn’t your kitchen refrigerator — not that I agree with piling things on the refrigerator either.

Hang up your children’s art projects at home.  Then you and your child can both appreciate it. 

Take a minute and look around your office.  Do you have any of these items? Comment below and tell us what you are going to release.











Monday is National Clean Off Your Desk Day.  You may not know it, but the first book published on unique days was Chase’s Calendar of Events.  Mr. Chase had a messy desk.  His daughter decided he needed a special day to clean off his own desk.  So the second Monday in January is dedicated to National Clean Off Your Desk Day.  

Technically, every day should be National Clean Off Your Desk Day for everyone!

Part of cleaning off your desk is to remove items from your desk that might take your attention away from your work, or your phone call.

Family Pictures

Let’s start with something easy to fix – family pictures.

When you look at them, you think of your family — not your work. If you see your children, you think of something they did. That might make you smile, OR you might remember something else that could take you “down the rabbit hole” (waste more time) because you spend too long thinking about it and not working. –i.e. You discovered this morning that your child went to school without finishing his/her homework, and you’re thinking about what you are going to say to him/her tonight.

Hang them!

That doesn’t mean you have to remove pictures from your office, just your main work area. Hang pictures on the wall and take the distraction off your desk.

There’s another reason to hang your pictures on the wall. When the pictures are on your desk facing you, your guests can’t see them when they come into the office.  ( Just look at the picture above this article and picture sitting on this side of the man’s desk with family photos on it facing him.)

When the pictures are on the wall, they are visible to your visitors. Show them off just like the paintings/pictures and certificates on your walls.

Now you can turn and see them when you’re taking a break. This way they won’t interrupt your thinking while you’re concentrating on a project.

If your family photos are on your desk, hang them up to create more of a distraction free work area. 

Watch for the next blog with the next article on more desk distractions.

 Comment below if you have family photos on your desk and if you ever noticed how they affect you.