On Monday I blogged about untidiness enhancing creativity, but also wasting time and creating frustration. Since then I’ve wondered what the ideal level of mess is to enhance creativity without it being outweighed by time lost hunting for stuff and the frustrations it causes.
Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if I could work it out by drawing a graph like this…
And a graph like this….
I could then use these graphs to create an equation to calculate my optimum level of mess…
But wait a minute! There’s one more negative influence to add that I overlooked on Monday. The psychologists I quoted only studied people spending a limited amount of time in the tidy/untidy conditions. In real life people can spend days, weeks, even years, living in the same (ever-growing?) mess.
The impact of living with long-term clutter – just like unfinished projects – is that it hangs in the corners of our awareness, stopping us give full attention to the jobs in hand and eroding creativity. I thought about adding this into my equation, but instead I put the equation where it belonged…
Whilst it may be a fool’s errand attempting to work out an optimum level of mess for maximum creative output, I still want to make my environment less frustrating, less timewasting and more conducive to creativity. There are unquestionably untidy areas that are nagging me and sapping my creative energy. I know dealing with them long-term is going to involve rules – funny how working to improve creativity so often involves rules.
My first rule is to spend 10 minutes at the end of every day tidying up my nagging mess – I’ve deliberately made it a short time so it’s harder for me to make excuses to worm out of it. I’ve deliberately made it at the end of the day, so my ten minute burst doesn’t incite me to tidy the whole house first thing in the morning and waste the day tidying up.
I know more rules will emerge as I work on this, but for now one rule will get me started.
Want to tackle your mess? What rule(s)are you going to set?