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.