Listen

If Your Desk is Messy, You Might Be a Genius

If you understand the term "controlled chaos," it may mean you're smarter than the rest of us.

It's Monday morning and your boss walks in, eyeballs your desk and says, "How can you find anything in this place?"
If you're like me, you simply can't find anything if your world is completely clean. When we have people over, I clean the house, only to realize I will never find certain things again. To me, a clean house is disorderly, and a disorderly house is comfortable.
Call it what you will, but apparently the company I keep is not all bad.
Einstein once asked, "If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk?"
Of course, Einstein's long gone, but apparently I'm not alone because Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman have co-authored a book called "A Perfect Mess: The hidden Benefits of Disorder - How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place."
I gotta get this book... I know exactly what he's talking about.
Maybe I got it from my parents who are both not the neatest people in the world. Oh, I'm not a pack-rat if that's what you're thinking (at least not yet) but I agree with the authors who say that neatness has its disadvantages....
"negative consequences and can actually make workers less effective."
The book goes on to illustrate that those of us who aren't completely neat are more creative. (Yes, I always have been more creative than mathematical.) But if messiness is the mark of a creative mind, why are we so criticized?
The fact is, says the book, messy people generally have a personality trait that leaves them open to new experiences. We are less rule-bound. Things don't have to be exactly so to make us feel productive.
To promote the new book, I give you, The Messy Desk Contest. After seeing the photos of the winner's desk, I felt better immediately. Colorful sticky notes pinned to the monitor, a few organized piles here and there and some other clutter.
So, messy people of the world, take note! Stop feeling guilty for your creative mind and don't let orderly people boss you around.