"Good order is the foundation of all good things." Edmund Burke.
When I was a philosophy professor, my office as was once described in Notre Dame Magazine as perhaps the messiest on campus. I liked to claim that the apparent disorder was just an extremely subtle and complex form of rational order beyond the comprehension of the casual glance. I was one of the early exponents of chaos theory. I was also a great rationalizer.
When I left the university and set up my own Morris Institute for Human Values, I quickly came to appreciate the value of order. A quirky, eccentric professor lost in the physical world can be not only tolerated, but even enjoyed within the safely protective environment of a major university. Out in the world, it’s a different matter. Any of us who are determined to create new forms of success have to respect the need for efficient access, clear records, and orderly procedures. If Architectural Digest wanted to photograph my office, it would still take me a few minutes, or - ok - maybe a few hours, over a period of days, to get it really nice looking, but it’s not the waste dump of resource materials and old book drafts that my chaotic professorial den once was.
How’s the order in your life? The degree of order and clear structure that you need will be a function of the person you are. Not everyone has to have labels on all drawers and a system for everything. There's a spectrum. But on the total mess end of the spectrum, I do believe that a measure of potential effectiveness is seriously inhibited, regardless of what absent minded creatives may think when they're ignoring it.
Are you often wasting time looking for things that should be more rationally organized and more readily available? Would an uncluttered desk help you think better? And how about that old closet? Do you really have any idea what's in there?
Philosophers have often been the closet organizers of the mind. We help people straighten up their thinking, get their ideas well ordered, and discover the treasures that may be hidden away within the deep and cluttered storage of their own minds.
Creativity flourishes best within a context of good order. So do we as people. Organize something, anything in your life, and enjoy the results that will come.