Study Finds Clutter Can Lead to Distraction

organized deskDo you feel distracted when you are trying to focus on a task at hand? Do you lose your thoughts and feel stressed often? Clutter may be the culprit. Science is showing the benefits of staying organized. Sabine Kastner, a neuroscientist at Princeton, studies what the brain pays attention to. Through her experiments, she and her research team found that visual clutter creates a competition in the brain between what it sees and what it’s searching for.

For example, if your desk is cluttered with last month’s bills, children’s sport schedules, work reports and social events the brain must scan all these items to find what it’s looking for. Over time, this filtering process can reduce the brain’s ability to pay attention and think straight. If your desktop was clear with only this month’s bills on it, your bill-paying task becomes a no brainer.

People whose brains are already sensitive to sensory overload including those with ADHD and those who regularly find themselves unable to concentrate, can find comfort in knowing there are steps they can take to reduce brain overload. Kastner recommends lowering the window shades while working and keeping your workspace clear of clutter to be more productive.

This advice may seem simple but many people have never learned how to stay organized. They wonder why they aren’t as productive as they should be. They believe the task of organizing will take too much time. They think there is something unsuitable about the way they live but don’t know how to improve the situation. The benefits of being organized are multiple.

A professional organizer can help. We are trained in helping people live full and productive lives. In your own environment, we show you how routine tasks can be completed in a simple way. We assess barriers. We help you clear the clutter and offer techniques to support you in staying organized. You are then able to stay focused and complete your tasks. You can create a relaxing space.

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