This may seem like a slightly strange question to ask, but here it goes anyway: What’s in your office?

Probably not something you think about too often, right?

I’ve always believed a clean and tidy golf course starts with a clean, tidy, well-organized shop. It has been my experience that you rarely find the first without the second. Organization starts at the shop. It’s more than a physical thing; it’s literally a mindset.

Maybe I was just made to put my toys away as a kid, but something stuck inside me that having a clean and organized work space – or play space, as was the case with my Tonka toys and Legos – equals a clean and organized life.

The same can be said for the golf course. A good way to think of the appearance of your shop is to always think that, at any moment, a surprise visit from the owner or the greens committee could occur. This thought process in itself can keep you from letting the shop go.

But let’s take it a step further. Let’s go inside the shop to your very office. How is your office organized?

As much as I hate to admit it, the office has always been a bit of an afterthought for me – pretty low on the old food chain. I mean, most superintendents spend less than half their time there, and for some the number is even lower – a third of their time, a fourth.

But think about it. When you do spend time in the office, you want it to be efficient, right? You want to get down to business and do what you have to do so you can get back out on the course.

In addition to simply keeping it organized for more efficient working conditions, you might want to consider a second factor: How does your office look to visitors? Remember, people make impressions about you within the first five seconds they meet you, often before you’ve even spoken.

In the minds of others, your office is basically you. This applies not only to someone you’ve just met, but people you’ve known for years actually judge you (even if they’re not aware of it) constantly.

So let’s get back to that first question: What’s in your office?

Let’s start with the desk, no doubt the single most important piece of furniture in your shop. Is it cluttered? Is there room to work? Do you have to prop your laptop up on some old magazines to go online? Can you spell your name in the dust on the seldom-used edges?

Keep the desk organized and simple. Less is more. File cabinets near the desk are essential for keeping the desktop free of clutter. I would say the necessary stuff for the desktop itself includes a calculator, stapler, tape dispenser, paper clips, a landline phone and room for your laptop. Nothing else. Try and find another spot (maybe on top of the file cabinets) for a printer.

A charging station has recently become rather important for most of us. Have a place to quickly charge your phone, tablet, laptop or other device.

It’s OK to keep as-builts as well as other irrigation and drainage maps in the office, but keep them labeled and organized.

Don’t keep your irrigation controller computer in the office if you can help it, and try to keep employee job boards and other posted stuff out in the break room. Your office should not be a gathering place for employees. You need to be able to conduct private meetings in the office. I believe in an open-door policy, but that isn’t to say the office doesn’t need a door. It does.

I have a bookshelf on which I keep a good supply of industry-related books handy, although in this digital age books are becoming less and less a resource as we turn to Google or Yahoo.

The other things you keep in your office are up to you. Stimpmeters, measuring wheels, locators, soil probes, the list is endless. But keep it clean. Keep it simple. Keep it organized. Keep it presentable.

Remember, when you’re not in your office, your office is you.