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Declutter: Reclaim Your Focus

Image courtesy of the Greene Realty Group

Declutter: Reclaim Your Focus

Stuff… pick it up, clean it, organize it, fix it, keep track of it, find a place for it. Yes, stuff demands time and attention.

The relationship with our belongings vary with some people favoring minimalism and others embracing a cozy, lived-in feel. Determining when possessions become clutter is subjective. The key is recognizing when your stuff holds you back. Is it hindering you by taking up time, snatching your attention, or causing distractions?

Research shows that uncluttered and organized spaces reduce distraction, increase productivity, and even elicit calmness.

Let’s face it, keeping things neat and organized takes energy and can be a challenge for anyone. It can be especially intimidating for individuals with ADHD. Understanding why clutter obstructs focus is the first step. Implementing small changes is the next.

Clutter Competes for Your Attention

Piled papers, crammed cupboards, and sloppy shelves compete for your brain’s attention. Why? Because human brains like order.

Visual overstimulation, like a cluttered counter, requires your brain to process all that it sees, then filter out irrelevant information. This process consumes cognitive resources that could otherwise be spent getting important tasks done.

Before you sit down and get to work, do you find yourself stacking items scattered around you so you have space for your laptop? Research shows that people are able to work more productively in a clear workspace. Instead of your desk being a gathering space for unfinished business, why not create a catch-all under your desk? Imagine how easy it would be to start working.

Not only does clutter compete for your attention, it also triggers distraction.

Do you ever start a project and suddenly find yourself sorting through unopened mail that's strewn across the table? This happens because your eye gets drawn to what is out of place and triggers a shift in your attention, diverting it away from the project you’re trying to focus on.

Ever find yourself trying to concentrate but you simply can’t until you tidy up? It might feel like procrastination, but really you are filtering visual stimulation so your brain doesn't have to. Either way, clutter steers you off task.

Simple organizational tricks can reduce visual distractions so you can stay on task.

Clutter Consumes Time

Everything in your space takes time. Throw pillows need to be fluffed. Coffee makers must be cleaned. Bath towels have to get hung. The amount of work required to take care of your belongings adds up.

When things don’t have a place to call their own they get tossed in a corner, on a counter, or to the floor. No matter how much you pick up, the mess never quite seems to diminish. Imagine balancing the quantity of stuff with the space you have. Envision each item having a place to rest. It would make tidying up quick and easy.

Ever give your clothes the sniff test in search of items clean enough to wear? Is it hard to find an outfit amidst a pile of clothes strewn across the floor? Imagine how much faster it would be to pull a clean shirt off your shelf.

Do you lose everyday items amongst your mess? Put them in a basket or on a hook. Designating a clutter-free zone just for essentials like keys, wallet, and phone may save you time and help you stay organized.

Simply Put…

Just like your room, your brain can get filled with unnecessary stuff leaving little room for what’s important. Constant visual reminders of disorganization deplete your cognitive resources and reduce your ability to focus.

The good news… Creating an organized and clutter-free environment can enhance your ability to stay focused.



by Gasper, Prime, McDonald


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