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Why Creativity is Hampered by Clutter

Mark Twain and Albert Einstein have messy desks. At one point, when he was criticized for his work habits, Einstein questioned what an empty desk would mean if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind. Look at your home office desk. Is it filled with post-it notes of half-baked ideas? Are the papers stacking up on one corner of your desk? Is the trash bin full? So many people can work in such clutter, but are their ideas geniuses or mediocre?

Building extra sheds in your home in Denver or another city will at least keep your clutter to a minimum. It’s one thing to have a cluttered desk; it’s another thing to live amid the trash. That’s unhygienic and unsanitary. People cannot act like Einstein and Twain all the time. While there is a correlation between mess and creativity, studies also show that clutter hampers productivity and fresh ideas.

Ideas are Messy

Of course, finding new ideas is always going to be a messy procedure. Your desk will have journals, research papers, and raw materials. You are going to mix and match fabrics if you’re designing a clothing line. You’re going to draw lots of designs. Papers, pens, and graphing tools are going to be thrown around your desk. If you’re looking for ideas, you’re likely to create a kind of a physical and mental mess.

You cannot come up with a great product without trying out different patterns. And if you bother yourself with cleaning the mess you’ve made, you’ll break the continuous flow of ideas. Artists are, in a way, dependent on the freedom they have to think about an idea and nothing else. Imagine yourself writing a research paper. Your ideas are flowing. You’re typing on your laptop. Suddenly, your kid sister barges into the room and disrupts your flow. You lose the momentum, so you’ll have to start all over again.

But Processes Should not be Messy

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Yet, processes — the series of actions that will take you from Point A to Z — should not be messy. Disorganized processes have no place in the creation of a product or an idea. The road to realizing a plan can be long and tedious. That’s why a well-defined and organized process is needed. You cannot be distracted with clutter and mess.

Imagine working on an idea on your home office desk with all the mess associated with the project. Aren’t you going to be distracted by them? An organized desk will help you select the right materials for your project. It won’t distract you from creating what you’re experimenting on. The same can be said for your mental organization. Your mind should be clear of all the ambiguity of creativity. It should focus on what you are trying to achieve.

Keep in mind, though, that what works for you may not work for others. Several studies have already proven that being organized helps rather than harms the creator. It is up to you to experiment with both settings.

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