Members in the Media
From: Harvard Business Review

Why a Messy Workspace Undermines Your Persistence

Harvard Business Review:

The disorganized accumulation of papers and coffee cups scattered across your desk may help you project the impression that you’re working at full throttle, but in fact it’s probably dragging you down. We’ve found that people sitting at messy desks are less efficient, less persistent, and more frustrated and weary than those at neat desks.

But wait, you may say. No one who has worked in a busy office for more than a week can possibly keep a neat desk — the work comes at you too fast. Or you may say that you like your mess, that it’s as comforting as a little nest. To which we say yes, it can be challenging to keep a desk neat. And yes, a mess can be comforting, even freeing, in a sense: You don’t have to worry about things becoming disordered, because they’re already disordered.

But look at the data:

In one of our experiments, more than 100 undergraduates were exposed either to an uncluttered space or to a work area where papers, folders, and cups were scattered over shelves, a desk, and the floor, like so:

Read the whole story: Harvard Business Review

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Without denying the advantages of a neat environment, I think that there is a major difference between a messy environment, caused by someone else, or by yourself. In the first situation, you don’t know why things are there, and how far you can go in throwing things out. You have to creat your own personal space within someone elses’environment. So that is a more threatening situation than when you put things there yourself over the course of time. Then the whole space is your own personal space.
Managing clutter is an art, there are different ways of doing it so you can work efficiently and it is good to give room for some band-width in this approach. A clean desk can very well be a front for a cluttered drawer or disorganised hard-disk. 🙂

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