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Messy People Have More Creative And Productive Minds, Science Says

Messy People Have More Creative And Productive Minds, Science Says

Many of us follow the ideology that seemingly chaotic or unorganized individuals do not perform well. Thus, we are encouraged to keep our workplace or desk organized, with an expectation of delivering better results. However, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge an unmanaged desk or workplace when it comes to creativity or productivity.

In fact, there are various studies and claims that those with messier desks can often be more productive, more creative, and more inspired than others. In this article, we will cover a number of points that support this controversial concept.

They Have Mastered The Art Of Prioritization

Messy people may appear careless or unorganized but they are often masters in the art of prioritization. They often place the most important things first while lesser aspects are temporarily left behind.

While it may appear beneficial to keep everything perfectly organized, for messy people it’s merely a hindrance when dealing with the task at hand.

Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman, authors of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, summarize this notion perfectly:

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“Mess isn’t necessarily the absence of order. A messy desk can be a highly effective prioritizing and accessing system.

On a messy desk, the more important, urgent work tends to stay close by and near the top of the clutter, while the safely ignorable stuff tends to get buried to the bottom or near the back, which makes perfect sense.”

They Can Find Inspiration In The “Chaos”

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    Mark Twain was great creative mind known for his messy but highly productive workspaces. His desk was always piled with books, papers, and a seeming lack of organization. For him and many others, a cluttered desk can become a source of divine inspiration.

    A study conducted by a Kathleen Vohs from the University of Minnesota at Carlson School of Management suggests that a cluttered environment helps in increasing creativity. She said:

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    “The creative people feel free from the limitations in messy and disorderly environments. It helps them to break the traditions and produce new insights. On the opposite side, orderly environments which resemble safe and conventional zones encourage more routine and safe work practices.”

    They Are Often Braver And Faster Decision Makers

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      Mark Zuckerberg is a particularly big dreamer and a fast mover, also known for his slightly chaotic and less-than-conventional workspaces.

      Haltiwanger clears another misconception about messier individuals. He reports they are faster decision makers and can better deal with stressful situations. When they are facing tense situations, they are more likely to step up rather than go for the backdoor strategy.

      This is due to the fact they are less concerned with micro details as they focus on the larger picture before making informed decisions. They have even been shown to be more adventurous and fast moving than organized people.

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      They Have Proved To Be Highly Innovative Thinkers

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        “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” — Albert Einstein

        Did you know that the famous scientific genius Albert Einstein was actually quite messy a messy person? His desk was always full of seemingly disorganized papers, articles, and scrawls, yet no one could dare challenge him in the field of science. While he managed things in his own seemingly messy way, he was always able to find everything he needed.

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          Steve Jobs would most certainly be considered a creative genius, revolutionizing the mobile technology industry from a messy desk!

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          They Devote Time And Energy More Carefully

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            Messy people naturally save precious time and mental energy by ignoring clutter-related issues. These people understand the cost of opportunity and don’t get caught up in routine distractions that can absorb clean freaks. Sometimes, workspace tidying can even become a form of procrastination!

            For those fully focused on achieving goals or striving to reach a target, keeping a workspace tidy is often the last thing on the priority list. Like many famous painters, Francis Bacon‘s workplace may have resembled a chaotic messy, but he was merely channeling all his creative energy into making great paintings.

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            Last Updated on July 10, 2019

            30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

            30 Best Procrastination Quotes to Get You Back to Work

            What do your 3pm fridge raid and perfectly alphabetised bookshelf have in common?

            You most likely did both of them when you should have been doing work.

            Procrastination is one of the most human behaviours. We’re all guilty of putting off what we know is important from time to time, and it seems the more pressing the task at hand, the better we are at avoiding it.

            Sure, it means that every time we have an important deadline we end up with a spotlessly clean house and a completely empty inbox, but the real work gets left until the very last minute and is finished in a frenzy of stress and caffeine.

            But we can gain control over procrastination by noticing it as soon as possible and stopping it in its tracks. On the contrary, you know you have a bad habit when you’re aware you’re putting something off, and you continue avoiding it anyway.

            To start you off with combating procrastination, here are a few quotes to get you in a motivated frame of mind, because if procrastination has any enemies, it’s motivation to work harder.

            A Few Home Truths

              “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”
              ― Mark Twain


              “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”
              ― Leonardo da Vinci


              “Someday is not a day of the week.”
              ― Janet Dailey


              “Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in instalments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.”
              ― Israelmore Ayivor


              “The man who waits to know everything is the man who never does anything.”
              ― Craig D. Lounsbrough


              “Procrastination is like going to a fancy restaurant and filling up on bread and not leaving enough room for dinner.”
              ― Richie Norton, The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live without Regret


              “Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.”
              ― Noelle Hancock, My Year with Eleanor


              “Doing things at the last minute reminds us of the importance of doing things at the first minute.”
              ― Matshona Dhliwayo


              “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
              ― Abraham Lincoln


              “A day can really slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
              ― Bill Watterson, There’s Treasure Everywhere


              “By what right do I, who have wasted this day, make claims on tomorrow?”
              ― Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes


              “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
              ― José N. Harris


              Some Practical Advice

                “If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
                ― Hilary Mantel


                “Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”
                ― Robert Herjavec, The Will To Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding


                “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”
                ― Pablo Picasso


                “It is only by working the rituals, that any significant degree of understanding can develop. If you wait until you are positive you understand all aspects of the ceremony before beginning to work, you will never begin to work.”
                ― Lon Milo DuQuette, The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of the Rituals of Thelema


                “Do first what you don’t want to do most.”
                ― Clifford Cohen


                “How often do you find yourself saying, “In a minute”, “I’ll get to it” or “Tomorrow’s good enough” and every other possible excuse in the book? Compare it with how often you decide it’s got to be done, so let’s get on and do it! That should tell you just how serious your procrastinating problem really is.”
                ― Stephen Richards, The Secret of Getting Started: Strategies to Triumph over Procrastination


                “How to stop procrastinating starts with believing you can overcome procrastination.”
                ― Robert Moment, How to Stop Procrastinating


                “Never put things off…you will wake up and find them gone.”
                ― James Jones


                Some Tough Love

                  “Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you.”
                  ― Paulo Coelho, Aleph


                  “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.”
                  ― George Bernard Shaw


                  “If you want to get ahead in life, I’ve found that perhaps the most useless word in the world is “tomorrow.”
                  ― José N. Harris


                  “What is deferred is not avoided.”
                  ― Thomas More


                  “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work”
                  ― Chuck Close


                  “If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
                  ― Roy Bennett


                  “Your ideas have legs and just as they run through your head, they could be running through someone else’s head and it’s just a matter of who gets to the finish line first. Nothing is new under the sun so act on your ideas.”― Sanjo Jendayi


                  “You may not be punished for your procrastination, but for sure you will be punished by your procrastination.”
                  ― Debasish Mridha


                  When You Need Pulling out of Procrastination

                    “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
                    ― Denis Waitley


                    “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
                    ― Karen Lamb


                    Print these quotes out, stick them on the wall in front of your desk – do whatever it takes to remember why you shouldn’t be putting your work off, or getting distracted by a desire to rearrange your socks into colour order.

                    It won’t be easy, but being aware of how detrimental procrastination is to your longer-term goals is the first step towards overcoming it.

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                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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