Messiness More Efficient
- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Business Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Every office has at least one slob. He is the employee whose desk is messy. Papers are stacked here and there. Post It Notes from months and months ago are still tacked to the cubicle wall. The garbage overflows with takeout coffee cups and empty bags. But a business book suggests that neat people are actually less efficient and less creative, or so the book's author, David Freedman, says.
A mess works surprisingly well for the person who made it, Freedman explains. It's like a filing system. Take Karen Jackson, who admits that her desk looks like a disaster area. Yet it's an organized mess, she says. She knows where everything is. Clean up the mess, or disturb it, and she can't find anything.
A messy workspace can act as a natural reminder system, though. Old papers and notes placed with more recent information will get reviewed. As a result, it's easier to make connections between old and new ideas and information. There is increased creativity and opportunity. Filed away papers, on the other hand, usually end up forgotten. And anything thrown away is lost forever. In addition, tidy employees usually spend from one to four hours per day keeping their desk clean.
But Barry Izsak, who heads the National Association of Professional Organizers, disagrees with the author's claims. Izsak explains that the average person will often feel stress because of the mess. He will also have feelings of missed deadlines and lost opportunities. And according to another study, that can cost companies money -- $50 per week for each employee. At large organizations, that can quickly become millions of dollars per year.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Title: Speculate and/or discuss the contents of today's article from its title: "Messiness More Efficient."
Fill in the Blanks: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- Every office has at least one ( ).
- Papers are ( ) here and there.
- Post It Notes from months and months ago are still ( ) to the cubicle wall.
- But a business book suggests that neat people are actually less ( ) and less creative.
- Take Karen Jackson, who admits that her desk looks like a ( ) area.
- Clean up the mess, or ( ) it, and she can't find anything.
- Old papers and notes placed with more recent information will get ( ) .
- Filed away papers, on the other hand, usually ( ) forgotten.
- ( ) employees usually spend from one to four hours per day keeping their desk clean.
- He will also have feelings of missed ( ) and lost opportunities.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What was your general impression after reading this article?
- Do you think that messy people are more or less efficient than neat people? Why?
- How much time do you spend a day (or a week) cleaning your workspace? Is this too much or too little? Why?
- Are there any very neat people in your office? If yes, does their neatness bother you? Why/not?
- Are there any negative connotations to being neat? If yes, what?
Google Search: Type "efficient" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.