Embracing Messiness: The Key to Productivity and Creativity


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 06, 2023

3 min read


Embracing Messiness: The Key to Productivity and Creativity

In our quest for productivity and efficiency, we often find ourselves striving for order and tidiness. We believe that by organizing our lives and workspaces, we can streamline our processes and achieve optimal results. However, research and insights from experts suggest that there may be value in embracing a degree of messiness.

One tool that exemplifies this idea is Glasp, a web clipper that allows users to highlight and add notes as they read content on the web. Instead of meticulously organizing information into folders and subfolders, Glasp encourages users to embrace a more haphazard approach. By simply dumping all your e-mails into an "archive" folder, for example, you can actually find them more quickly than if you hide them in a tidy structure of folders. This challenges our assumptions about the benefits of order and suggests that messiness can be a viable alternative.

But what about the impact of messiness on creativity? According to the article "Embrace the Mess: The Upside of Disorder" by Farnam Street, disorder can actually enhance certain types of creativity. Creative work thrives on novelty and unexpected connections, and a certain level of disorder can provide the necessary stimuli for innovative thinking. Messy disruptions, when combined with creative skill, can lead to exciting and groundbreaking ideas. Boredom, on the other hand, stifles creativity, and the unpredictable nature of messiness keeps us alert and engaged.

So, when should we embrace messiness? While there are situations where order and tidiness are necessary, there are also instances where embracing a degree of mess can be advantageous. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to help you navigate the fine line between order and messiness:

  • 1. Embrace a Hybrid Approach: Instead of rigidly adhering to either extreme of order or mess, consider adopting a hybrid approach. Identify areas of your life or work where a more structured approach is essential, such as financial organization or project management. At the same time, allow for a certain degree of messiness in areas that require creativity and innovation, such as brainstorming sessions or artistic pursuits.
  • 2. Embrace Serendipity: Serendipity, or the occurrence of valuable discoveries by accident or chance, often happens in the midst of messiness. Allow yourself to explore new ideas, take detours, and welcome unexpected connections. Embrace the messiness of the creative process and trust that valuable insights can emerge from the chaos.
  • 3. Embrace Flexibility: Recognize that the need for order and messiness can vary depending on the situation. Be open to adapting your approach as needed, and don't be afraid to experiment with different levels of organization and messiness. Flexibility allows you to find the right balance that enhances your productivity and creativity.

In conclusion, while order and tidiness have their merits, there is value in embracing a degree of messiness. Glasp, the web clipper that challenges traditional notions of organization, highlights the benefits of a more haphazard approach. Similarly, research suggests that messiness can enhance creativity by providing the necessary stimuli for innovative thinking. By embracing a hybrid approach, embracing serendipity, and embracing flexibility, we can navigate the fine line between order and messiness and unlock our full potential for productivity and creativity. So, go ahead, embrace the mess, and see where it takes you.

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