Does clutter cloud creativity?

Does a cluttered space really equal a cluttered mind, as the old saying goes?  Studies show that a cluttered desk costs you time, money and creativity.  However, studies also show that messy desks are the signature of creativity and individualism. Albert Einstein was a notoriously sloppy person (“If a cluttered desk signs a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” he once opined).  But writers often need open spaces to get their creative juices flowing.  A cluttered desk can be a barrier between you and your work.  A busy desk is also just a reflection of a busy person. So which is right?

Take a look at the picture above.  The desk on the left is my desk; the desk on the right is my wife’s.  I give her a hard time for her messy desk, but it seems to work for her as she is a one of the more creative people I know.  She has her style, I have mine.

The question you need to answer is: What works best for me?  Can I concentrate with all this mess (or without all this mess)?  The choice is yours.  The real cluttered mind comes not just from a cluttered desk, but from the emails, phone calls, and social obligations that get in your way.  Your work space doesn’t have to be clear as long as your distractions are.


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