By Kayla Bayens
Now I went on for a whole month about cleaning your space. Which is all correct, you do get more done when your space is clean. Everything I’ve said up to this point is true and should be practiced regularly. But I will let you in on a little secret: A messy area has its purpose too. When used as its intended a messy area can inspire, can ignite ideas, and can help you over come mental road blocks. The delicate balancing act is remembering when a clean space should be used and when a messy space should be. So now that you know all about a clean, organized, and happy space its time to show you the other side. Hold on to your hats as we are about to dive right in!
Social perception, separating messy from dirty
The biggest obstacle to using a cluttered space to your advantage is really how its typically perceived. Its seen as dirty, lazy, a poor work ethic, etc. But there is a big difference between cluttered and dirty. A dirty space means dirty dishes, mugs, food wrappers, etc. Its a space that isn’t cleaned. Now I know this last month I may have made it seem like messy, cluttered and dirty are interchangeable at times. However a cluttered space doesn’t have all of that stuff. A cluttered space contains papers, pictures, magazines, books, sticky notes, and miscellaneous items. Its a space of things meant to try and help get your creative juices flowing, to help your thought process flow in another direction. What we are going for here is an area that sparks creativity and innovation because it supplies a plethora of seeds that could take root to form an idea, not an area dirty enough to actually sprout life. No one wants that.
Just so you know I’m not just spouting non-sense, I do have some science to back all of this up. Actually its by the same people who also found out that a clean space boosts productivity and healthy choices. As I’m sure alot of you know in the real world things aren’t strictly black and white. Something that in large doses can be detrimental, in moderation can actually be beneficial. But anyways back to the science of the matter.
Three students out of University of Minnesota published a study that found, through multiple tests, that each type of environment has its advantages. And for cluttered or messy areas they found that were more creative then their organized counterparts. But don’t take my work for it as I have included a link to the study for you to take a gander at yourself.
Do it in cycles, and only when you need it
Its important to remember that there is a time and a place. Sometimes you need to buckle down and get things done, for that your work area needs to be clean. Other times you hit a road block or a rut and you need a spark of creativity to get passed it, at that point a messy cluttered space is what’s needed. You need to be aware of this so that you can control it. Every business, every workplace, every project has cycles. You know the general idea of what the cycles for all of those look like. Use that to your advantage. You know when the times of each cycle are when you need to just put your head down and work. You also know when in the cycle things tend to get stuck sometimes and need that little extra help. Be smart and use all of the tools at your disposal. Utilize your space not just as that mostly flat space you work in but as a foundation for your work. Create efficiency and productivity, but remember that creativity and innovation have their places as well. So make your work space an area that allows for both sides.
Make sure that cluttered space is actually creative
I’m not saying become a pack rat and keep that pile of every Cosmopolitan magazines since the 90’s. You need to make sure that you area, when in creative mode, is actually set up to help you. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places. The key is to finding what sources best match how your mind work. For me its this weird mixture of images, music, and random books that spark my imagination. All of these things let my mind jump to places it normally wouldn’t which creates these bridges of creativity which helps me solve whatever road block or problem I’m on. Its lead to alot of fun developments and solutions that normally wouldn’t have come up during the normal mundane environment most of us work in. So find what inspires you most and have that on hand to fill your space when you need that little something extra.
Remember dear readers though that with great power comes great responsibility. Be careful how much you toe this line and only use your new found knowledge and powers for good. At least that is the company line. Keep an eye out for the next series of posts, Online Presence Branding! I promise I’ll make it as exciting as possible.