Messy Desk vs. Clean Desk

Messy Desk vs. Clean Desk
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Both a messy and a clean, organized desk each hold inherent benefits. You might envision the perfect desk to be a polished aluminum work surface, perfectly minimalistic in its design and layout, sporting high-tech gadgetry and a huge monitor, however this does not necessarily mean that this is the right layout for you.

Some of the greatest thinkers of all time including Einstein, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are known to have held extremely messy desks, with studies confirming that a “mess” can simply be seen as “zealous creativity.”

Yet with the average paper retrieval time being a whopping ten minutes, you can clearly see the productivity benefits that a clean desk delivers. Here we’ll be taking you through a look at the benefits of both while helping you to get a better idea of where your office needs optimizing.

A Messy Desk is Often a Sign of Genius

A minimalist office environment may seem like the best place to function at your best however without any form of personalization, an individual will suffer from stifled creativity.

A University of Minnesota study confirmed the connection between a messy desk and productivity, showing that both neat and messy individuals come up with an equal amount of ideas, while those with messy desks prove to have the more original, innovative concepts. One needs the individual details floating about their thoughts to spur creativity and inspire new ideas on time-old subjects and processes.

Society is instilled with modern values of neatness although this is at times a counterintuitive notion. The cost of tidiness needs to be carefully evaluated before the right balance of creative flair and organization can be struck.

Yet too much clutter will leave you stressed and suffering from hampered productivity and creativity. A mess only becomes a problem when it distracts you from your point of focus, whereas organization can be used to clean up your desk at any time while also helping on many practical levels.

A Messy Desk is Often a Sign of Genius

Clean is Organized, Clean is Not Empty

Clean desks are not empty desks. A clean desk is an organized desk, helping one on many levels to attain not only a productive work environment, but one that is calm and creative as well. A desk without clutter helps to reduce latent stress, while the peace of mind of knowing where critical documents, hardware, storage and other frequently accessed items are found without needing to think about it brings about a whole sense of calm of its own.

A tidy work space saves a great deal of time whilst clearly communicating a sense of professionalism. Any desk which is in the public eye needs to be well-kept, clean, and neatly organized. The organization of your desk helps you to establish priorities, while making repetitive tasks easier to do.  

Once you have established an attractive, functional layout you will soon see your creativity rise. As you ease into your workspace without ever needing to contemplate where to find your most frequently accessed tools, sources of inspiration, or forms of communication, you are left with a clear mind to focus on the matter at hand.

Repetitive Tasks and Rigid Organization

People are far too complex to categorize, although certain work environments are more cohesive to certain personality types. Those capable of ignoring their spatial surroundings appear more capable of creative thinking, drawing inspiration from inward rather than relying upon outward focus alone. It appears that those who are more drawn toward the rational, and those purposed towards logical practical tasks will find the best benefits from a higher level of organization.

A desk needs to be laid out and organized according to its function. A designer will need a distinctly different workspace compared to a high-school student, while a group-desk in any learning environment could be classed as messy, but instead delivers collaboration and creativity. Always assess what you are doing at the desk itself and how much time it takes to keep your desk in the state that you are most happy with. “Messy” and “Clean” are highly subjective terms.

Strike a Balance and Benefit on All Levels

Strike a Balance and Benefit on All Levels

Creativity and productivity need to reach a fine balance for you to put out your very best. Once you find a balance between organization and creative freedom, your workspace will not only look and function better but feel better as well.

Organization is critical to working effectively; however, if you spend too much time fussing on the details you could easily stifle your creativity while opening up ample room for procrastination. There is no perfect way to classify or organize any given desk or workspace but the importance must be the effectiveness of the space and its beauty in your own eyes.


If you do not value the effort which it takes to bring a desk under control, then it is too clean (if there is such a thing), yet the very same can be said for messy. Busy, complex, but ultimately stress free and under control is bliss to one but chaos to another.

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