When we want to write creatively, we tend to focus on the inner organization of our writing, rather than the outer organization of our desk. But it turns out that organizing our desk the right way can make us more creative, and also more productive. In this post, we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to spark creativity through tidying up our desk and adding the right items to it.
1. Organize the clutter
They say that having a cluttered desk can make you more creative. But there’s one thing to remember here — too much clutter is distracting. You may glow with a bright new idea, but if you can’t find a pen and some paper to jot it down, what good will it do you?
In fact, too much clutter can lower your productivity. It may also make you uneasy — even the most creative mind craves a certain level of organization, and cannot bear for long a heap of things before its eyes. So, if you have handwritten papers full of ideas on your desk, sure, you can let them unfold like petals of a flower around your computer or tablet. They can give your creative efforts a concrete form and even inspire you.
But if you’re facing a forest of leaking ballpoint pens through which mobile cables snake their way at ease, that won’t do much for your creativity. What you should aim for is a clutter of ideas, not a clutter of objects.
Leave inspiring books open on your desk, put sticky notes with quotes and other jottings where you can’t miss them, and throw in some nice photos. But make sure you have enough space left for work.
2. Take ownership of your desk
If your desk feels like it’s really yours, you will be more productive. The simple way to do this is to customize your desk to reflect your personality. Add a plant and books you enjoy, and if you keep a stack of papers on it, make sure the top paper features your own writing. Add a photo, too — it doesn’t have to be a photo of your family, just one you took yourself.
Taking ownership of your desk is especially important at work, where your desk runs the risk of looking just like all the other desks in the office.
3. Keep junk in one drawer
Stuff you don’t need will inevitably pile up on your desk — junk mail, completed task lists, unusable pens, business cards you never requested, old notebooks you no longer need. Even if you don’t have the time to sort through these, you can at least keep them in one place, out of sight.
These items can make up the useless clutter we already talked about. By keeping them in one place, you make future cleaning will be so much easier — you’ll have just one drawer to sort out, not the whole desk. If your desk doesn’t have a drawer, grab a nice box or basket. Place it where you can’t see it, i.e. under the desk.
4. Green up your desk
Our mind reacts differently to different colors. Green is a friendly color we instinctively like because of its association with nature. It’s also been proven to boost creativity. This doesn’t mean you need to get a green desk, of course. Just adding some green to your desk is enough.
Grab a bonsai, some miniature cacti, or some other undemanding pot plant and place it on your desk where your eyes can easily rest on it. You can also leave a book or notepad with a green cover within sight. If you keep a stack of books on your desk, add one with a green cover on top. Little details like this can make a big difference.
5. Put sticky notes in one place
When it comes to messy desks, sticky notes are among the usual suspects. Light as they are, they can proliferate at a disconcerting pace as tasks and reminders pile up. Giving up on sticky notes isn’t usually a solution — after all, they’re pretty useful. But you can put them in one place instead of ceding to them the whole desk.
Keep all your sticky notes in a notepad. Or go digital and use Evernote or another similar app. Not only will this help clean up your desk, but also make it easier to keep track of notes and reminders, since they will always be in one place.
6. Dim the light
Dim lighting creates a sense of freedom and promotes creativity. Organize the lighting on your desk — and around it if possible — with this in mind. Chose a subdued light source and place it to one side, so that you create a smooth gradient of light. That said, you don’t want a desk that’s too dim, as that may put a strain on your eyes.
7. Choose a rounded design
Give up those straight, hard lines in favor of smoother, rounded lines for both the desk and the stuff you keep on it. Curved lines are associated with positive emotions, which in turn can generate a good flow of ideas.
Add roundness to your desk through items such as lamps, clocks, and plant pots, as well as through decorations. You also want to avoid too many hard lines when arranging your books and papers on your desk. You can always add even more roundness through hourglasses, coasters, or rounded photo frames.
Wrapping It Up
If you’re constantly looking for new ways to spark creativity, the desk organization tips above will come in handy. You don’t have to try them all at once. In fact, that’s not recommended, as making all these changes at once can be daunting. Instead, you want to take it one step at a time.
Begin by tidying up your desk, to keep the clutter in check. Then add some green, some roundness, and dim the lights. In this way, you will slowly transform your desk while taking full ownership of it, which is essential for maximizing both creativity and productivity.