Monday, July 22, 2002

Messy Ways Vindicated

As one who cannot undertake any project, no matter how small, without leaving behind a cluttered desk of books, papers, files, and reference materials, some of which invariably overflows onto the adjacent window sill or the floor beside the desk, I have often regarded uncluttered desks as a sign of a sick mind. The following article from the August 2002 issue of Readers Digest, as told by Sarah Safir, justifies my cluttered ways, which I gave up trying to tame long ago:

In Defense of Clutter

Don’t feel quilty about the Everest-like mounds of paper on your desk. They’re an essential part of the human thought process, according to one research team. In a series of studies across many occupations, social scientists Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper, co-authors of The Myth of the Paperless Office, observed that when people read at work, they use annotating, cross-referencing and paper-sorting to tackle complex problems. When only electronic files were used, or when papers were filed away, workers weren’t as effective. Piles of paper, they say, serve as ‘temporary holding patterns’ for ideas in progress. ‘People with messy desks don’t have messy heads,’ says Harper. ‘Quite the contrary--they’ve taken the mess out of their heads and piled it on their desks.’ So the next time someone comments on your state of disarry, tell them you’re a stacker, not a slacker.


The FatBirder's Nest
FatBirder Web Ring