I saw a new study by the University of Minnesota that encourages messy desks after concluding “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking with tradition, which can produce fresh insights.”
Fine! Keep a messy desk. But only when you want fresh insights!
When it’s time to get something done, you don’t need fresh insights. You need to focus. You need to shut down those new ideas.
- Move to a clean surface.
- Get away from those piles of paper that creep into your peripheral vision and steal your attention.
- Close all the windows on your computer that you don’t need for the task at hand.
Save the insights for later. Focus now. As my friend David A. Fields once told me, sometimes we just need to be bricklayers and keep our inner physicist at bay. When you’ve finished your bricklaying tasks, you can go back to your messy desk and let your inner physicist out to innovate to your heart’s content.
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