Just read an Utne article on a Monitor on Psychology report published last fall. The answer to the question is: yes.
Here’s how it shakes out. If you have a neat desk, you are more likely to make socially-responsible decisions than the messy-deskers. In the study, 81% of neat-deskers responded yes when asked to make a charitable contribution. Messy-deskers? Only 67%.
The tidy room participants also made healthier decisions (67 percent chose an apple over chocolate) compared to the messy-room participants (only 20 percent chose the apple).
But for those of us with messy desks, it’s not all bad. (Yes, except when I’m expecting visitors or I’m leaving for an extended trip, my desk is generally, well, not as bad as Radio Bob’s, but definitely a far cry from Sandy’s.)
Messy desks: creative thinking and innovation.
(Kathleen) Vohs and her team conducted another test asking participants to come up with creative uses for a ping-pong ball. While those in the tidy rooms and messy rooms both came up with extensive lists, an independent assessment determined that the ideas coming from the messy room were far more creative. A separate test involving terminology on a menu also showed that terms such as “classic” were more appealing to those in the tidy rooms while “new” resonated with those in the messy rooms, suggesting to researchers that the messy workspaces correlate to innovative thinking.
What about people with sort of messy or sort of neat desks? Do the neat personality elements negate the messy elements? Or do you have some of both?
This is ridiculous. I better go clean my desk and stop rationalizing the disorganization.