When I was a kid, at least once a year, my father would bring me to work with him when I had some type of day off from school. This was long before the days of organized corporate “bring your kid to work day” events where HR plans some special tour of the office and you go home with a bag full of random goodies all containing the company logo. No, this was your basic “you have nowhere to be and I have no one to watch you” type of day.

My father at the time was a systems administrator for a high-tech equipment company. And by all impressions, he was very good at it and seemed to like it.

But his desk was a mess. Really, his whole office was a mess.

So, here I would come in, on our special, not-so-special day, all of 10, 11, 12 years old, and decide that it was up to me to “save” my dad from himself (and because there wasn’t much else to do until lunch time when we would go out to Pizza Hut).

I would organize his things. (It was either that or learn how to code.)

And boy did I. By the time I left, his office was sparkling. His file cabinet was color-coded. His desk was gleaming.

The problem, of course, was that the next day, when I was safely back to school, my poor father could not find a thing. My “organization” system didn’t make much sense to him. And the glare off the desk was more distracting than anything else.

Ultimately, what I saw as a bit chaotic is what worked for him. (It still does, by the way, as he currently sits at his Head of IT desk for another firm.)

So I was thinking about that when I came across the infographic below from the Huffington Post.

Of course, we can all nod that an organized desk seems more productive than an unorganized one. We can sing the praises of the clutter-haters out there.

But the truth is that some people work best with a little disarray. It makes them look at things a bit differently.

After all, creativity is rarely neat. And, really, why does it need to be?

desk-setup-infographic