If your desk is a mess and you find yourself wasting valuable writing time trying to tidy up, you’ll be relieved to know that help is in sight–and not in the form of a multi-hundred-dollar organizational system. In , authors Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman tout the overlooked positive side of messes and messiness. Citing examples of our culture’s expensive and often inefficient obsession with organization, the authors claim that there’s often more to be gained from systems and situations that are less orderly.
If you’ve ever berated yourself for having a sloppy workstation or for working on twenty different pieces of writing at a time, fear not. While a certain amount of focus is necessary, these authors want readers to look at the possible advantages of living outside the box (or the file folder, calendar or Palm Pilot). Letting go of rigid routines can allow people to think more freely, adapt to change with more flexibility, and often, come up with ideas that they might not otherwise have developed. Even writers, who are often thought of as being creative, get stuck in ruts. And who would have thought that the solution might not be getting more organized, but getting more messy?
Cathy Belben lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she earned early fame for her award-winning fourth grade essay, “What the flag means to me” and later wrote bad rhyming poetry for the Whatcom Middle School Warrior Express. She recently survived a year in Hollywood writing for the show Veronica Mars. She’s returned to her normal life as a high school teacher and librarian, a triathlete, a weightlifter, a yogi, a dog’s mom, a cat’s slave, an artist, a napper, a nanny and an auntie. She’s thankful every day for everything.