I feel vindicated

I must make sure Miss D., and most of my friends, see this report.

Proving that sometimes working in mess is much more productive than precision and order, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that creative geniuses favour a chaotic workspace.

After testing how well participants came up with new ideas when working in both tidy and disorderly work areas, it revealed that while those in the messy room generated the same number of ideas as their clean-room counterparts, their ideas were considered as far more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges.

Furthermore, the data also found that people with a messy desk are more prone to risk taking while those at cleaner desks tend to follow strict rules and are less likely to try new things.

“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” researchers said.

There’s more at the link.

There!  You see, darling?  I’m not messy – I’m creative!  It’s a sign of my genius!  Surely you can . . . wait – why are you picking up that broom?  You wouldn’t hit your husband, would you?



  1. I'm not messy. Entropy and I have an agreement. I pile and stack things in seemingly random arrangements, and he doesn't move them. That way he's satisfied and I can still find my notes. And books. And clothes. And no! Athena, don't—


  2. "A clean desk is the sign of a sick mind"….this was one the desk of one of my first employers!

  3. That sort of "backup-argumentation" was exactly what I used to apply – or at least try to apply – with my late wife and housemate.

    Yeah – never worked worth a darn with her, either…

  4. Entropy is immensely enjoyable, right up to the time you have to find something with which to complete the task, or initiate another.

    I used to work with someone who stored tools randomly in 5-gallon buckets, with the quite predictable impact on productivity one would expect from that.

    There is a reason mankind discovered alphabetization, numerical order and clothes bureaus having multiple drawers instead of being just one large box.

    I'll easily tolerate disorder, often a great deal of it, during phases of tasks, or even projects, but there comes a time when restoration of rational order is a necessity. As example, consider a SHTF scenario in which ammunition is stored randomly instead of by caliber, the cans of beans are stacked on the extra gasoline cans in the garage, and all the pistol magazines are loose in one box.


  5. Perhaps twenty years ago, Brian Lamb of C-Span took a pocket camera and started to photograph writer's offices. I think his photos would very much agree with this thesis.

    I can't find a book collection of those photos, but I'll troll the C-span archives when I get the chance. I recall one gent who had three old typewriters submerged in books and papers on office desks. I'd think Umberto Eco probably holds the record for amount of reference material kept at hand in his library/office.

    Glen in Texas.

  6. I know exactly where everything I need is.

    Until an earthquake, medium-sized animal, or small child comes through… ^_^

  7. I have a deal with the house. When too many books need shelving, it takes the one I'm currently reading. (This is a serious problem if it's an e-book; it takes the Kindle.) If I shelve enough books AND ask the house nicely to give the book back AND offer it some small article in trade, it usually cooperates within 24 hours.

    My husband used to laugh at this approach until the day when I successfully traded a cracked cup for his missing glasses.

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