A few more things that you might find helpful.
When you get into 'the rush' stop every now and then and make a mental picture of your station... OR if you can easily / without disrupting work take a photo of it with your camera. (probably just a mental picture if it's an open kitchen)
Go back later on that evening and identify everything that was 'making' that mess. ie. what was it that you were making the most mess with?
Most often I find when training people that they are messiest when trying to be 'extra' fast or when they are unfamiliar with a method of plating. Sometimes but less often it's a matter of using the wrong equipment for the job.
Figure out what is happening and then correct it by coming up with a different way and/or slowing down or just learning to do it the right way.
Wrong sized equipment, squeeze bottles in particular i have seen many people try to cut the tip extra large because they need a full two or three oz of sauce on the plate in a puddle, the large tip just makes for drips and inaccuracy. Use a proper sized ladle and technique not a plastic gimmick to give you that pool. With huge volume the best tool might be a pancake batter dispenser. I've watched guys/gals squeeze that plastic 32oz bottle like it owed them money trying to get two oz servings onto many plates in a rush... honestly if you go through more than 5 or 6 squeezies in a night it's the wrong tool.
Other common size problems occur with pastry bags (often way too small - they spend all night filing the damn things) and also the wrong size of tip. You shouldn't be making 15 concentric circles to pipe mashed onto a cottage pie and you shouldn't have to do 5 or more spirals to get a decent 2 oz kiss. Down and around, up and around, then off (3 passes max).
Improperly sized ladles, if you have to say I use one and a half ladles of sauce your wasting time and effort just get a 1.5 oz / 3 oz or 4.5oz ladle ... buy it yourself if the place is 'cheap' it'll save you a boatload of time and subsequently mess!
Being extra fast usually means extra mess. While i'd like to say slow and steady wins the race that is almost always not the case. Fast and smart is much better. For instance you can dredge your plates with icing sugar one by one taking it slow and steady and trying to not get it everywhere on your station. Or you can keep two sheet trays / pans or serving trays beside/under your station take them out and lay them side by side, fill them with xx number of plates - and hit that assembly with powder sugar like you mean it. Plate the deserts - put the sheet trays beside your station on a box or something and hit them salads. You will be faster and neater, at the end of the night just tap them off into the trash and put in the dish pit ... saves you a ton of wiping and cleaning or if you chose the slow and steady route a ton of time.
Use the same principle for what ever you seem to make a mess with, i'm a tray fan so if I have to grate parm on top of a bunch of composed salads... I line em up on trays and hit em with gusto... put em up and then any extra parm gets poured off the corner of the tray to a monkey bowl and used for the next batch. It shows the chef you care about saving both time and product.
Technique this is the big one that you will have to self evaluate.
- When you use a plating spoon do you wipe the underside on the edge of the container to ensure no drips?
- When you have to grate or shave something do you angle the tool to drop the contents where you want or do you just hold it level and pray for the best? (if so you better have some trays handy)
- When using your hands to sprinkle diced/grated things onto many plates do you simply fill your hand and then start dropping stuff onto the destination or do you take the entire container in one hand and then use just the other hands fingers to 'pull' out only what you need onto every plate? (hint try the container and finger method - much faster - much more accurate and less messy)
- When using a finishing salt do you ensure you fingers are dry first... or do you simply bust ahead and then shake off any excess. If your hands are almost always wet there is no shame or harm in using a tiny little 'dash' spoon in the salt cellar to help you distribute, just do so from up high while taping it on the side. (if you don't know how to do this just ask... i think the celebrity chefs have all killed this skill)
There are many more tips / tricks but I am way too tired to type them all.
Let us know what dishes you make and what ones go messy and we'll help.
All the above advice is very important - I would have listed it first but they beat me too it ... damn slackers mustn't have worked till 10pm on a Sunday! (just kidding)
Any way - keep striving to be better and have fun!