We often fall into two camps, messy or organized. For years, researchers have completed studies to analyze people’s personalities, including studies on individuals with messy workspaces vs organized workspaces. Based on those studies, researchers have been able to conclude a few general assumptions. Those with organized workspaces often live a healthier lifestyle, make better health decisions, and live longer; while those with a messy workspace are often more creative.
In a study done by psychological researchers at the University of Minnesota, participants were asked to fill out a form at either a messy desk or a well-organized desk. After their form was completed, they were asked to donate to charity and given the option of picking either candy or an apple as a snack. The researchers found that “being in a clean room seemed to encourage people to do what was expected of them…compared with participants in the messy room, they donated more of their own money to charity and were more likely to choose the apple over the candy bar.”
Other studies have also found that those who keep their work areas clean and orderly, often have less stress and anxiety than those who work in an unorganized setting. This isn’t to say that it’s all bad news for those who find their desk cluttered on a regular basis. In an experiment were participants were asked to come up with new uses for ping pong balls, “participants in the messy room generated the same number of ideas for new uses as their clean-room counterparts. But their ideas were rated as more interesting and creative when evaluated by impartial judges.”
In fact, many notable creative minds are known to have unkempt desks including the likes of Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, Steve Jobs, John Abell, and Mark Zuckerberg. As Einstein said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
So regardless of whether you are Team Organized or Team Organized Mess, it seems as though both have their benefits and drawbacks. To each their own!