Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Clutter: Creativity:: Cleanliness: Conventionality. Cool.

IMG_8050Two weeks into the Fall semester, and my workspace is a mess already! I tidy up at the end of each term, but it never takes long for the [not-so]comfortably hectic piles to grow, sometimes, it seems, of their accord. Indeed, there are days when I am secretly envious of my colleagues who keep their offices in a constant state of order. I’ve always been this way, and there are times when the mess makes me a little crazy. Yet, there are also times when the mess feels just about right.

Given my ambivalence about the state of my workspace, you can image my delight when I came across a summary of recent research examining – experimentally no less – relations between a tidy (vs messy) workspace and outcome variables like creativity and conventionality. In the press release titled “Tidy Desk or Messy Desk, Each has its Benefits” the current “take away” from the set of studies published to date is that:

  • Messy work spaces stimulate creative solutions to unusual problems
  • Tidy work spaces stimulate conventionality and “doing what’s right”

So maybe that’s why I feel compelled to clean house before I sit down to pay the monthly bills (or clean the kitchen before planning the shopping list, or, you get the idea….)! And now I’ve got a new view on that quirk of mine too, that I really don’t mind the mess at work too much, yet, I really do prefer my home to be neat-and-tidy (despite the fact that it is often a bit of a mess too). It all makes so much sense now. Thanks, Dr. Vohs, for this happy bit of insight.


A word a week: Unexpected

Expect the unexpected” is sage advice for any parent, right? Right. Or sometimes, just expect to be charmed in the most curious ways.

"up you go little guy"

“up you go little guy”

After watching for a moment, I asked my daughter: “Whatcha doing?” She turned with a grin and said, “Mama! One of these little guys was giving another a piggy back ride and I thought I’d let some of the others join in the fun too, so I am helping them all take rides!”

Enjoy the ride, little ones...

Enjoy the ride, little ones…

Charming, indeed! I wonder how many more little snails are out there now, compared to two weeks ago? Unexpected and totally delightful innocence. For more images that capture the unexpected, visit “A word in your ear” and enjoy the ride!

The Effortful Educator

Applying Cognitive Psychology to the Classroom

Conditionally Accepted

a space for scholars on the margins of academia

Midtown Mocha

A smooth blend of cultural happenings and infatuations.


Knitterly thoughts from Louise Zass-Bangham

Damon Ashworth Psychology

Helping people flourish

The Electric Agora

A modern symposium for the digital age

Small Pond Science

Research, teaching, and mentorship in the sciences


My thoughts on public education and other things


I overuse the strikethrough

High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching



Comments and advice for academic authors

When Women Inspire

You can make a positive impact too!


Gauge as Rx'ed

Social Emotional Learning and the Common Core

Tools to integrate SEL with your current teaching practices

Thriving in Thin Air

Setting Out for Everest

Why? Because Science.

Combating Stupidity Since 2012

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns