Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Creativity and organization

One of my favorite books about organization is Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. In it, she talks about how simple changes and solutions add up to big organizational payoff. I love the part of the book where she talks about what holds people back from organization. One of these is "Fear of Losing Creativity."

Morgenstern argues that instead of choking creativity with structure and order, "Being organized releases rather than restricts creativity." This is something I wholeheartedly believe. It is impossible to be as effective in any area of one's life, including creative work, when one is disorganized. As she says, "[organization] gives you immediate access to all the materials you need to do your work more effectively."

I think a lot of the same mental blocks that prevent people from being organized are the same as those that keep people from expressing themselves creatively. A person afraid of being creative might say, "I don't have the right environment to be creative. My desk is too organized/too messy/too small/too precious." A person afraid of being organized might say, "I need chaos and mess in order to create. My work space can't be rigid/clean/compartmentalized." Neither of these people has an attitude that will enable them to create to the fullest of their potential. Creativity can happen in any setting. Setting limits on what you must have in order to create is an artificial barrier protecting you from your fear of failing at your creative endeavors. However, as a professional organizer (and a creative person), I think being organized can only help, not hinder, the creative process.

Concrete examples of creative work spaces that can benefit from organization to follow.
Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email lelah@lelahwithanh.com

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