messy desk

Clutter consumes us. From our messy desks to our closets full of clothes we'll never wear, we clutter our lives with things that we have some sort of attachment to. However, this clutter gets in the way of our focus and how well we process information.

A study from Princeton University actually found that people perform better in surroundings that are tidy and organized. They found that the clutter around you actually competes for your attention, which makes you less able to focus.

But clutter isn't just physical, it comes in the digital form as well. From your Twitter feed to the icons on your desktop -- these are all things that compete for your attention. Even your email notifications can be considered clutter because they take your brain away from the flow of your creative process. This clutter gets in the way of how you filter information, how easily you switch between tasks and the strength of your working memory.

However, everyone has a different tolerance for clutter. Some need a bit of a messy area to feel inspired (an empty desk might be viewed as dormant, rather than an active working space). But others prefer a crisp, clean, minimalist workspace.

Mikael Cho, the co-founder of ooomf, has suggested four ways people can get hold of the clutter in their lives. He suggests giving yourself constraints -- on the amount of books you buy, the amount of people you follow on Twitter and even the number of apps you download to your phone. You can apply these constraints to any aspect of your life, which will help you consume less and enjoy what you do consume even more.

Cho also suggests removing everything from you desktop every day. If you don't know where to put certain files, create a folder titled "Home," where these miscellaneous items can stay.

How do you declutter your life?

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