Messy is the New Neat

Neatness is overrated. Let those stacks of paper pile up on your desk. Don't worry about the laundry tossed in the corner. Let the icons clutter up your computer screen. And whatever you do, stop obsessing over your letter-perfect filing system. Bless your mess, says a new group of "mess-iahs" spreading the gospel of healthy disorganization.

"Moderately messy systems outperform extremely orderly systems," says Eric Abrahamson, Columbia University professor of management and co-author of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder (Little, Brown). Abrahamson, a scholar of organizational behavior who admits to being a bit of a mess, says the costs...

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