Tidy desk tidy mind? The old idiom might be true, but there may be something to be said for working in chaos, as according to a new study, working amid clutter could actually make you more creative.
So before you despair over the state of your work surface, you my want to take a step back to appreciate these findings - and have them to hand next time your desk organisation is under scrutiny.
In the study at Minnesota University researchers looked into whether a tidy desk did encourage a tidy mind. In it, one group of people were placed in front of chaotic desks, while another were put in front of pristine ones. The aim was to look at how they reacted to their environment, rather than to find out whether they were inherently organised or messy people themselves.
Both groups were then asked to do some tasks and afterwards given the choice between a chocolate bar and an apple.
Later the groups were asked to come up with new uses for a ping pong ball, were given the chance to donate anonymously to charity and were also asked to choose if they wanted a vitamin boost added to their smoothie, and whether this boost should be the 'classic' type or a new option.
Those participants sitting in a cluttered room were found to make more conventional choices. They were more likely to pick the apple, to go for the classic vitamin boost option and to donate to charity. But those sat in the chaotic room were more creative when it came to imagining 10 new uses for a ping pong ball.
The experiment concluded that organised people made healthier choices, were more traditional and more generous. Messy people, however, are more creative, perhaps because they're more likely to have to problem solve their way through life thanks to their disorganisation and chaotic working style.
So if you're the type to start each Monday morning with a solemn pledge to be more organised, tidy, focused and productive, give yourself a break, you're more creative this way. And just look at how messy Einstein's desk was. He did OK.
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