Peaceful blue-green mirror-glass oceans. Fields covered in smooth blankets of white snow or the smooth felt of waving grass. Awesome golden sand deserts curving and bumping dunes to the horizon. The starry night black of the wide-open sky.
What is it about these sights that attract us? We look out or up and just automatically take a deep breath. Our shoulders drop in relaxation and our heart rate slows down. Exactly what is going on here?
These are all scenes and vistas that are not cluttered and crazy with a bunch of crap like your desk, that’s what. If the desert or ocean had all kinds of file folders, take-out containers, stacks of junk and old T-shirts scattered over it, the people would not be looking and relaxing now would they? They would most likely be calling for some government agency to get out there and clean it up.
There is a reason we like to see clean, open, simple spaces. It makes us feel safe. Disorder can hide danger. There could be a sabre-tooth tiger lying in wait behind that gym bag and pile of coats in the corner of your cubicle. That’s why research shows that physical order produces a calming response and good behavior in humans. Disorder, on the other hand, encourages people to break with tradition and convention. And also be stingy and eat more unhealthy snacks. Because if you are going to be eaten by a sabre-tooth anyway, who cares about the diet?
It is true that some degree of disorder is associated with creativity, even genius. Trying to be too neat can result in unnecessary stress and worry as well as taking up a lot of time. And sure, hard-working people with a lot going on often have things scattered and piled all about the place. What you want to do is reach a balance that works for you. Keep things comfortable and relaxed, but neat enough to show your self-discipline and organizational skills. At work, it makes you look good, and you get more done faster without distractions and constant hunts for buried items. At home, cleanliness and organization promotes health and safety by eliminating shelter for germs and vermin and reducing tripping hazards.
It is not as difficult as you might think to get on the path to a more organized, productive lifestyle. The professionals at planning and organization over at Timewax have put together a few tips in an infographic that shows how it easy it can be to take those first important steps.