Who says creativity and neatness are opposites? While we’ve all heard of creative people with messy work and living environments, rarely do we hear of tidy people who are also creative.
The old cliché of disorganised creativity certainly doesn’t seem to be on the way out of popular culture. Recent articles in the New York Times and Huffington Post are all focused on the link between messiness and creativity.
Despite the reputation of creative people for messiness, not all of the world’s most creative people struggle to keep their desk (or living room) free of clutter. Read on to discover some of the world’s most successful, creative and tidy people.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was involved in some of the most influential aspects of the computing industry. From the first home GUI interfaces to products such as the iPhone and iPad, Jobs’ creative influence in computing is undeniable.
While Jobs seems to tick every box on the disorganized, untidy creative checklist – he infamously experimented with LSD in his youth, wore identical outfits and had a laundry list of new ideas each morning – he was surprisingly tidy.
A 1982 shot of Steve Jobs in his home office shows a focus on minimalism, tidiness and simplicity. Aside from a lamp, a pen and paper and some vinyl records, there’s really not a lot of clutter in this billionaire’s workspace.
Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson might be best known for his exotic lifestyle and outrageous publicity stunts. Beyond the adventures and tropical islands, he’s also highly organised and exceptionally tidy.
In a recent article, life coach Jayne Morris cited Branson as one of the world’s most tidy entrepreneurs. His obsession with tidiness and organisation is reportedly one of the most vital components of his success in business.
Other business leaders seem to share Branson’s focus on tidiness. Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and American property investor Donald Trump are also famously tidy and obsessed with neatness.
Actress, director and screenwriter Angelina Jolie always has “thousands of lists” of things to organise, according to Brad Pitt. He refers to Jolie as the “organisational talent” of the family thanks to her focus on tidiness and clutter-free living.
Jolie isn’t the only super organised actress in Hollywood. In 2009, a lengthy list of actors, actresses and directors such as Judd Apatow shared their best tidiness and personal organising tips in a lifehacking guide on Slate.com.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld portrayed a cleanliness-obsessed version himself during the 1990s that wasn’t as far from reality as you might expect. Like his TV persona, the real Jerry Seinfeld is clean, focused and organised.
Well… maybe not quite so much as his TV persona. While Jerry’s TV character threw away shoelaces after they brushed against the floor of a men’s room, Seinfeld makes sure his life is organised. Brad Isaac explained Seinfeld’s productivity system in an interview with Lifehacker:
“He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.
He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”