ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Being messy could actually be a good thing (say scientists)

Being messy could actually be a good thing (say scientists)

Being messy could actually be a good thing (say scientists)
16 December 2015

Work desk full of mince pie wrappers, dirty mugs and empty 2015 year planners? There’s no need to feel ashamed, as experts from America say your cluttered work station may be the key to success.

A new study, conducted by psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs and her fellow researchers at the University of Minnesota, say that working at a messy desk may promote creative thinking and new ideas.

As part of the study, participants were asked to complete a questionnaire in either a clean or untidy office. They were then asked to donate to charity before choosing to have an apple or a piece of chocolate on the way out.  

Going with popular thought, it was those who worked in the clean room who donated more money and went for the healthier snack. The goody two-shoes.

However when it came to a separate test it was found that those who worked in the untidy surroundings were found to be more creative taking on a challenge to invente new uses for ping pong balls.

"Being in a messy room led to something that firms, industries, and societies want more of: Creativity," said Vohs. "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.

"Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."

Sorry worry not about your messy work desk the next time your boss gives you a disproving shake of the head. You’re working on your creativity. And then some.