There’s a national day for everything, it seems!
I mean, whose job is it to think these up? Really.
At any rate, today really is “National Clean Off Your Desk Day.”
While I’ll admit to getting overwhelmed to the point of decluttering occasionally, there is some evidence that going overboard can actually stunt your creativity. (Who created that word, incidentally? Well, if there’s one thing I don’t wanted stunted, it would be my creativity. Or my tolerance for caffeine. Or even my affinity for garden gnomes, honestly.)
I used to be all about orderly workspaces. I actually couldn’t do my homework as a kid if my room wasn’t clean. Yes, I was that weird. (My stepmonster referred me for counseling and immediately assigned me to clean the family bathrooms for the rest of her marriage to my father… which thankfully, didn’t last very long.)
But as the years went by, I got married and had kids—and the chaos that comes with them destroyed my orderliness like an under-nourished African Bush Elephant set loose in a local farmers market.
We were stationed overseas, and my husband would come in at the end of the day and ask me why the living room and kitchen were a mess. He actually thought that the baby should be playing upstairs in his room all day! After plenty of heated arguments, during which I may or may not have threatened to move him into the barracks, it became clear to me that he had a “thing” about horizontal surfaces being cluttered. (WHAT?!?! OK, let me get right to work on teaching our 9-month-old son to keep his clutter on the vertical surfaces. Right…) Eventually, I got smart and stopped killing myself over HIS “thing” about horizontal surfaces. I got two big plastic bins and put all of the toys in them 10 minutes before he came home. He eventually figured out that when the baby could entertain himself, the baby was happier.
What does this have to do with cleaning off your desk?
Apparently, there is some evidence that the greatest thinkers and richest people work very well in a cluttered environment. I mean, I have to admit that I adore clean and uncluttered spaces, but a desk as clean as the one in the image at the top of this post doesn’t inspire me to do crazy and unusual things. My creativity would get stunted like a pygmy hippopotamus on Hydroxycut.
I will say this. When my computer desktop (screen) gets too full of little icons and files that need to be put away, it takes me forever to find the item that I need to refer to, insert in a post, or attach to an email. Productivity slows to a halt while I scan a hundred icons (all named “Screenshot”) to find the one that I need.
Clean off your desk. Maybe a little bit. Maybe a lot. Or maybe not at all.
And for what it’s worth, the word “stunted” is of Germanic derivation. It meant foolish or stubborn. Neither of which is unlike a pygmy hippopotamus.
How about you? Do you work better with a clean desk or with some clutter?