Is your desk piled high with papers? Maybe your computer desktop is full of images and random folders with names like “qwerty1”. Clutter is a worldwide phenomenon that’s seen the creation of shows and books detailing how to fix the issue.
Clutter, whether it be physical, digital or mental, can have a negative impact on your focus. A 2011 study by the Princeton Neuroscience Institute found that “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation” or in other words, clutter makes you less focused. On top of this, it can slow you down and stress you out, all of which will kill your productivity. Whatever type of clutter you have, it’s likely that it’s killing your productivity. Here’s how clutter is killing your productivity, and what you can do about it.
Physical clutter is likely your biggest distraction when it comes to your space. t can be hard to keep a space that you’re always using organised. It can be easy to fall in to a trap of thinking “I use this regularly, I’ll leave it out so it’s easier to reach”, but over time these things build up until it’s no longer sustainable.
Facing your mess and cleaning it up can be overwhelming as it shows just how unorganised you are. It’s best to start with the things you need to keep within arm’s reach, otherwise known as the essentials. Things like your phone, glasses, note pad and a pen should all have a home on your desk. The things that are used more often should be kept closer to your desk, whereas older documents should be filed and stored away.
For sentimental items and even old records that need to be kept safe, it can be a good idea to use a community sharing site like Spacer for storage. Spacer provides a more local and affordable solution than traditional storage solutions.
Whatever you do, ensure everything has a place. If everything has a home it’s easy to find where it is, use it and then return it, leaving your desk clean and clutter free.
At first glance, digitising your documents and files seems like an easy way to keep your workspace free of clutter, however, fail to upkeep your digital desktop and you will see how quickly clutter builds up.
Coming up with a system is simple when it comes to digital, it’s just important to stick to it. Find a way to separate your personal, business and entertainment files that helps you find them efficiently.
Your email inbox is likely one of the biggest issues when it comes to digital clutter. There’s many strategies you can use to declutter your inbox. Find one that works for you and stick to it.
This type of clutter isn’t in plain view, or in your room at all, but rather in your mind, and for that reason you might not even think of it. Mental clutter, however, can affect your productivity just as much as any other type of clutter.
The best way to deal with mental clutter is to begin with limiting external distractions like your phone and television. Remove these things and your mind will wander less. For many of us, it’s the thoughts within our head that can be most distracting. There’s many ways one can deal with this problem. Try meditating, or keeping a journal where you can get all the thoughts out of your head and on to paper.
Set aside decluttering time
Whatever type of clutter you’re dealing with, be it one or all three of these types, its best to face it head on. Find some strategies to clear up your space and stick to it. As a result, you should be able to focus on what’s important and so your productivity should improve dramatically.
Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.