Why it’s okay to ignore the national “Clean Off Your Desk Day”

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Today is officially recognized as national Clean Off Your Desk Day but before you chastise a co-worker for their cluttered workspace, it might be worth remembering that creative geniuses are often among the messiest of us.

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that people who worked at a messy desk – even if it wasn’t necessarily their own - were more prone to creativity and risk taking.

“You can get really valuable outcomes from being in a messy setting,” confirmed psychologist Kathleen Vohs. “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.”

And there are plenty of high-profile names to support the theory too.

Mark Zuckerberg



Undoubtedly one of the most well-known, modern-day geniuses of our time – Mark Zuckerberg’s disorganised desk clearly has no impact on his productivity.

Albert Einstein



“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” – Albert Einstein, philosopher, physicist and Nobel Prize winner.

Tony Hsieh



As CEO of Zappos, Hseih heads up one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing online shoe stores – his desk features all the business essentials from cowboy hats to crouching monkeys.

Dennis Crowley



Foursquare founder and CEO Dennis Crowley helps people all over the world make the most of any destination. Perhaps the penguins offer advice too…

Mark Twain



The mountain of papers did nothing to prevent American author Mark Train from penning a multitude of timeless classics.

More like this:

Disappearing desks the key to productivity?

Ergonomics of trust – does your office space foster productivity?

Is your desk less hygienic than a toilet?  

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