Though I’m not one of them, advocates of disorganization thrive on it. The truth is that even the most organized among us have lapses in organization. Here are three advantages to being disorganized that I’ve dabbled in, with a fourth possibility to mull over. And you may be able to come up with even more.
Neglecting the organization, tagging and filing in your photo library is one of the surest ways to make thrilling new discoveries. You’re bound to unearth a forgotten series of images, as sooner or later you’ll have to organize, tag and file all of the accumulated photographs in your library.
Is there anything quite as daunting as launching Adobe Lightroom and being reminded there are 15,762 images in your library (and those are just the ones you’ve already imported into Lightroom), and when you search those 15,762 images for something simple, like “night sky” or “beach scene,” there are no results?
This means you’ll have to spend some time organizing, tagging and filing, perhaps a lot of time, and in the process, you will discover many, many photographs you thought were just lovely during your first pass at editing them, and then later forgot about. Ah, the eureka moment! The real treat of getting yourself organized is what you discover at the bottom of the pile.
These bonus thrills of discovery make your disorganization worthwhile.
Eureka! The real treat of getting yourself organized is what you discover at the bottom of the pile. Tweet
There is so much freedom in disorganization, isn’t there? You have so much extra time for more creative activities when you don’t spend precious moments filing old bank statements, putting your sable brushes back into the drawer where all of the other sable brushes live, or making new subfolders in your Documents folder to put all of those desktop files into.
While this process may work out fine most of the time, you will eventually be spending time hunting around for those unorganized items later; whether you’ll spend as much time later as you would have initially is questionable. Certainly you are more motivated to find things at the time you really need them; so the hunt may not be as distasteful as the initial sorting and filing may have been.
But a strategy of chronic disorganization relies upon one’s ability to relax in the face of it. For some, it’s appealing; for others, appalling. Where some find freedom, others cringe. It may just come down to your desire to live in the moment, or your need to plan for the future, and how important it is to you to be in control at all times.
Solution? Practice compartmentalization and your feelings of freedom from organizing will soar.
A strategy of chronic disorganization relies upon one’s ability to relax in the face of it. Tweet
There are arguments made for creativity occurring in the midst of messy, chaotic clutter, the premise being, that there is a lot of inspiration around to stoke the imagination. Plenty of people are impressively creative in messy studios, working on desks that seem disaster-struck with mounds of piled up notes, photos, papers, mail, pens and pencils, magazine clippings, folders.
At work, creative people seem able to make order of chaos, to pull together all of the disparate concepts they’re exposed to into one meaningful, central idea. Their ability to synthesize from many inputs may mean they’re simply not disturbed by disorganized surroundings. Perhaps creativity trumps the struggle to perform in the midst of a mess because the creative thought process is built around making connections among many things.
Can you go right to that place in your mind where the creative button gets pushed, anywhere, anytime, no matter the self-imposed clutter that surrounds you? Personally, I am often unable to separate the noise of all that clutter from the ideas poised upon my fingertips. I find it difficult to settle into any task in the middle of an untended desk; the piled-up papers and sticky notes and unopened mail simply remind me of my to-do list’s necessities, making it very difficult to concentrate on the creative pursuit I’d intended to pursue. How about you?
Being in the moment, with intense focus on your screen, and nothing but your screen, is a great assist to dismissing the chaos that threatens to overtake you.
Creativity can strike amidst messy, chaotic clutter, since there is a lot of inspiration around to stoke the imagination. Tweet
Are risk-takers inherently more disorganized? Or do disorganized people take more risks? Taking risks involves mistakes, plenty of them, and as a learning process, risk-taking is often exhorted. Stepping out of the organized mold into messiness can invite curiosity, trial-and-error, mistakes, failures, and ultimately, perhaps, successes.
The science, though, is decidedly in favor of organization. A 2011 Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study demonstrated pretty conclusively that the chaos of a cluttered environment is killing your concentration.
Consider what today’s cluttered environment looks like: The clutter that nags at me chronically isn’t merely the physical detritus of unsorted papers; it’s in bits and bytes on my desktop, in my email inbox, and on my iPhone. It’s always there, and organizing it is a daily time-suck, and still it’s often losing battle.
If this is what risk-taking entails, show me the freedom and creativity of discovery. ♣
How organized or disorganized are you, and how’s that working for you?
My organization skills helped me finish my novel.
Read a free excerpt from A Habit Of Hiding HERE.