Don't Put It Down, Put It Away

A Cluttered Life Equals a Cluttered Mind

Princeton University Neuroscience Institute has been doing research on how clutter affects our mind and productivity. What they've learned is worthwhile hearing about. 

This came from the January 2011 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience;

Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex, providing a neural correlate for the limited processing capacity of the visual system.

It's hard to focus if your surroundings have a lot going on. The clutter inhibits the brains' ability to process information. It distracts and confuses the mind. 

How does this happen? Good question! It appears that clutter or a busy environment 'competes' for attention. You see it in your peripheral vision so your mind wants to check it out even when you know what it is. This constant 'noise' which is always there vying for your attention can cause frustration and mental exhaustion too. 

They discovered if you have an organized place to work you can perform tasks with less stress and higher productivity.  

Here is the full article if you are interested. 

In another study, 32 families were followed and observed that when a mom is a multi-tasking her hormones spiked. Have so many unorganized things around you overloads all of your senses, thus causing your stress to elevate which reduces your ability to think clearly. It will also reduce your creativity. 

And...clutter isn't just in the physical form, it can be digital clutter!  

Do you get distracted by all of those popups on your computer? I sure do, I can be in a flow and then an email will pop up. These can be shut off when you're not expecting something to come in. The mind needs time to focus and process on whatever it is doing in order to make the most informed decision and to allow creativity to happen. I think this is why a lot of 'discoveries' happen while we are sleeping, it's then the mind can process and work out problems or issues. 

These popups along with the EMF (electromagnetic frequency) of telephones interrupts sleep and the ability to get a good night of rest. 

Dr. Gregory Marcus, author of a new study that was published in the Public of Library Science Journey in June of this year, and an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco found "When we looked at smartphone use around the time when participants reported they went to bed, more smartphone use around that time, in particular, was associated with a longer time to fall asleep and worse sleep quality during the night," 

*Dr. Marcus' research does align with other studies showing that the use of technology near bedtime is associated with difficulty sleeping, such as the 2011 National Sleep Foundation poll. Other research (PDF) has shown that the blue light emitted by smartphones (and other digital devices) might suppress our body's production of melatonin, a hormone that induces tiredness and contributes to the timing of sleep-wake cycles. *Your smartphone may be hurting your sleep. By Susan Scutti, CNN Updated 10:52 AM ET, Fri June 23, 2017

Okay! we get it! physical and digital clutter is not helpful to a focused, productive and calm mind. So...what can be done about it? I'm glad you ask :-)

Simply start somewhere, take action and then come back for more inspiration and motivation if you need it. 

Don't Put It Down...Put It Away! 

This is a great place to start. Have a place for everything and put everything back in its place then you won't need to spend time cleaning up.

I have a friend with the same age children as mine. When the kids were little she would come into my home and say "how does your home always stay clean"? Well...truth be known, you could have found plenty of dirt but it was mostly picked up. And then when I did clean it was so much easier of a task. I also taught my children to put something away before they got another toy out to play with. This helped immensely. 

 I get it, I really do, you think but I'm in a hurry when I'm getting dressed and when I'm in one of those moods where nothing I put on looks good I don't feel like or have the time to put everything back in the closet or drawer. I say just try it, hanging something back up or folding it back into a drawer really only takes seconds, so it's not really that you don't have the time, it's is more having the motivation or the will to just do it. 

Here are a few resources to give you a bit of a nudge when needed. But seriously, just try...try to remember to put it away and not just putting it down. You'll be happy with your results which will give you more motivation and you will sleep better! OH!!! AND you won't spend half your life looking for things!! Bonus! :-) 

I really like this idea; put a small box near your door to put donations in. I have one in my garage and it works great! When it's full I drop it off at our local Goodwill and get a receipt for my taxes.  

Some blogs; 

Another thought is to print out a few of your favorite ways to declutter and post it where you will be reminded. 

Here is a course you could take 

A couple books found on Amazon; 

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life 

Living Clutter-Free with Kids in the House (on Kindle) 

A movie;

"Thank You For Allowing Me To Be A Part Of Your Wellness Journey"

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