Food for Thought by Albert Einstein:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”
I’ve always wondered what is the point of packing and organising my things when they will eventually (whether it would have taken hours, days or months) going to be untidy again.
The thought always draws exceptionally near when I am living with a mum who is especially anal about cleanliness. Imagine the incessant and unnecessary need to mop and sweep the floor every night, that’s my mum. Though there are nights, I cheat my way through the chore with a white lie.
One common example would be the act of making our beds every morning – which has somehow become equivalent to starting your day ‘right’ as per military rulebook where the discipline of the act started.
Does making your bed truly equates to starting off the day right?
Is being messy necessarily a bad habit?
I believe that reasonably, there are always two sides to a story.
So Here Is The Science Behind Being Messy:
As a millennial, its safe to say, we do not usually cultivate the ‘good’ habit of organising our stuff and keeping to cleanliness unless, well, you have a pet peeve for messiness. Otherwise, I think we are all pretty much in the same boat.
I’m sure many of us have felt that although our desk/room/home is in a mess, we are in control of where our things are because it is our mess. When we do not place our things back to its designated area, we find creative ways to fit it elsewhere which strangely, is methodical in itself.
The Obsession For Order
“When someone praises the merits of order, they rarely take into account the cost of that cleanup” – Eric Abrahamson, a professor at the Columbia Business School and the co-author of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder.
He first theorize around the fact that desks do not clean themselves and the cost of cleanliness. He basically put a price on cleaning while weighing the advantages and disadvantages as he writes in his book.
“If you spend 20 hours cleaning up your desk, he asks us, are you going to get 20 hours back of greater efficiency?” According to Abrahamson’s research, people with orderly desks spend 36 percent more time finding things. His studies have also found that 2/3 of people report feeling guilt over their cluttered lifestyle.
Thinking Outside Of The Box
Outlined by Abrahamson’s research, science has spoken, and it has said that messy rooms increases the provocation of creative thinking according to Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota.
Which brings us to the next question of what constitutes a creative mind and how does having a messy room even help? Creative thinking occurs when you think unconventionally. Hence, misplaced stuffs in a messy room is a direct result of ‘promoting creativity’.
In an experiment, Vohs has analysed that the ideas from messy room subjects were 28 percent more creative than average. According to her, the ideas that were scored as ‘highly creative’ had an underlying boost from being in the messy room. These subjects came up with almost five times the number of highly creative responses as did their tidy-room counterparts.
Putting Into Practice
For the generation Y, take the idiosyncratic style of Steve Jobs for example, when he invented the use of iBooks in an attempt to (I would think most probably) declutter his lifestyle.
So, does this mean science department has broken new grounds through the relationship between being messy and creative? No. Let’s be realistic guys, you won’t find yourself waking up like Einstein or Steve Jobs one morning just cause your room is cluttered.
In correlation however, if you’re a messy person by nature(like me), what you should do is to find a healthy medium between your cluttered lifestyle and the urge to clean.
We should learn to be prudent about our lifestyles and prevent the life of subsisting in pig stys from happening.
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