Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs had messy desks, just like most other geniuses.

The desk was invented around 1200 CE, and while the technology upon it has evolved, the desk itself has remained the same: a flat-surfaced work area accompanied by drawers and cubbies for storage.

Today’s efficiency experts insist that people are more productive when their desk is uncluttered, with “a place for everything and everything in its place.” That’s the thinking behind in- and outboxes.

However, the notion that a clean desk makes you more productive is absurd twaddle. Researchers at the University of Minnesota recently tested how well students came up with new ideas when working in orderly versus disorderly work areas.

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