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What’s on your desk? Yes, it does matter

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To some, a desk filled with personal photos and Beanie Babies is unprofessional, not to mention distracting. For others, it’s a healthy way to add a personal touch.

So, which approach is best?

Different unspoken rules apply at different workplaces, of course. But according to a study done by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, if you have more than one personal item for every five items on your desk, managers might see you as unprofessional.

Best advice:

Choose quality over quantity for desktop accessories. Example: one or two framed photos, versus multiple photos pinned to a bulletin board.

Keep a “comfort drawer” for storing items that relieve stress, bring peaceful memories or make the day more joyful.

Say no to the schwag. Resist taking gimmicky freebies from conferences or work-related events, if they are likely to litter your desk. If you need a reminder of a particular vendor, write the company’s name in your PDA or notebook, then transfer it to your address file.

Use Flickr (http://flickr.com) to store photos rather than propping frames on your desk, so you can watch a slide show during breaks.

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