Einstein: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Mark Twain. What is one thing these three visionaries have in common?
They all had very messy workspaces.
These three world-changers were never ones to follow the crowd, and always enjoyed doing things their own way. We can see this by how unconventionally disorganized their desks are. There was a method to this madness: under the mass of papers, magazines, and various objects, there is a sense of organization only the creator can operate through.
“On an empty desk there is rarely a good idea.” Every person works more productively in the individually adapted chaos. “Disorder is a sign of a life lived” says the psychologist Grünewald. He sees those going astray who understand the stack only as a pile of paper…
When you’re generating ideas and concepts, it could help to have a messier desk. However, when you’re trying to be productive, getting a specific task accomplished, or simply need to execute on a creative concept, cleaning your desk can “trade in” your creativity for efficiency.
In case you are trying to be more creative, here are some ideas: instead of throwing out those magazines right after you’re done with them, leave them hanging around your desk. Don’t shelf those books yet. Keep anything that could potentially inspire you (including art prints). “There are two types of messy environments,” Vohs said in an interview with NY Daily News. “One is unkempt and one is dirty. I don’t think these results suggest leaving around banana peels and dirty dishes for a week.”
Ok, this is the perfect excuse to be a little untidy… (oh man this photo looks embarrassing with my comfortable retouching clothes)