A Messy Environment Can Breed Creativity and Productivity
I’m sure you’re looking at the title of this article and thinking “surely not!” You may not believe it, but it’s true. You’d assume a messy environment would do the total opposite of breeding creativity and productivity. I’m sure any of you readers who’ve worked in both neat and messy environments will believe you worked harder in the clean location, and it’s completely true.
So how exactly does mess help you become a more productive worker? It’s all about cleaning up. Read on to find out.
Finding The Patterns
Human beings love patterns. They appeal to us in all aspects of life. We appreciate uniformity and neatness. For example, our streets and city planning. The ancient Romans knew this which is why their road systems are so finely constructed and well ordered. Compartmentalizing tasks is an extension of this.
By breaking down what you have to do to clear things up through compartmentalizing, you’re making a larger task simple by giving yourself simple commands and verifiable goals. It’s easier to see the progress you’re making.
In many ways, you don’t even have to think about it. Once you’ve made a mental list of how you’re going to do things in order, then your brain effectively goes onto autopilot to go others places in your subconscious rather than hanging around your conscious mind worrying about writer’s block, the mess, or other problems that impede your productivity.
For repeat users of this technique, variety is essential. Once the routine becomes predictable, your mind doesn’t go to the active subconscious where it was before, it instead leaves you back at square one. Inactive, in all senses of the word. Switch things up, surprise yourself. The mind works best when it is freshly stimulated, so keep yourself on your toes with a change of pace or task whenever possible
Sometimes, you need time to think but don’t actually allow yourself that space to do so. There’s always something else occupying you that doesn’t give you the hours you need to put your mind to something really. All your brainpower is required elsewhere. As already mentioned, cleaning up allows your mind to go elsewhere while the body does all the work, and allows for a deeper subconscious level of thinking.
What time has to do with it all is simple; just because you’ve allowed your mind the time off to wander elsewhere doesn’t mean it’ll instantly come up with a creative solution or spur you on to do something productive with the rest of your day. You need time to let that happen.
Think of your mind like a giant calculator crunching an enormous sum. Even with the appropriate computing power, it may still take some time to reach the proper answer. The principle is effectively the same.
Sometimes productivity and creativity are hampered by just sitting down and doing nothing all day. Without stimulation, how can you ever expect your brain to pump anything worthwhile out? Although hardly a task that’ll exhaust you, your respiratory rate should increase slightly with physical activity and allow more oxygen pumping into the brain.
As the brain begins changing gears, you may find yourself flooded with the ideas you’d been searching for the whole time. It’s important to keep your thoughts ordered, though. Even too many ideas can be a detriment to the problem you’re trying to solve because it can be tough to pick the correct path forward. The fewer ideas (or choices) you have, the easier it’ll be to weigh the pros and cons of the situation properly.
While you can’t control what or when things pop into your head, time is a great benefit to help you refine the ideas and separate the mental wheat from the chaff, as it were. Even amongst dozens of bad ideas is the chance you’ll come across a great one, and that opportunity cannot possibly be ignored.
The Circle Of Mess
Life works through a series of checks and balances, and nothing is ever absolute. You should take this same approach when it comes to mess, especially if you find that cleaning it up is a good method to get your mind working at full capacity again.
My advice to you would be not to work diligently to ensure your environment remains clear permanently, but to allow the mess to build back up to a stage where you can repeat the compartmentalizing tasks method again, and give your mind the proper time and activity to become fully productive again. Effectively, you’ll be forming a routine.
It’s important to note that your first attempt at using clearing mess to spur on productivity and creativity may not work as described here. Everybody is different, and people take to this method in a diverse range of ways. You may be someone that needs time for the process to work, or you may instantly find yourself liberated from your conscious mind and able to think freely again. After all, that is what this is all about; thinking freely.
The mind is a realm of infinite possibility. The solution to any problem is contained in there, but the process of which we get the answer is a mystery. In some cases, it could be just a lack of pertinent information, but in a creative sense the answer is always hiding within our minds and requires teasing out to be used for maximum effect.
Likewise, your body shouldn’t be left alone either. Mind and body aren’t separate, they are one. If the body is allowed to stimulate biological responses, such as light exercise giving more oxygen to the brain, then clearing up is the ideal way of kicking your brain out of Park, and straight into First Gear and rising.
As a solution to problems go, it’s a simple and elegant one, with actual tangible benefits for users once they get the hang of things. Meditation? Yoga? Spend an hour cleaning your bathroom instead. You’ll do just as much exercise but will improve your mental clarity significantly.