It may seem like a large chore, clearing your desk after a long day of work or studying. However, leaving your clutter lying around actually won’t be helpful in the long run. In fact, research has proved that clutter can lead to stress, anxiety, and guilt.

The Princeton Neuroscience Institute conducted research regarding the effects of clutter and found out that having multiple visual stimuli within the range of one’s eye will lead to distraction. This is due to the fact that the stimuli will compete for neural representation. In simpler words, the more cluttered your workspace is, the more you’ll suffer from distraction and a lack of focus. This is because of the objects scattered across the area that are diverting your attention to different directions.

It’s easy to talk about the negative impact of clutter on one’s school, college or work-life, but in reality, cleaning up can actually be a daunting task. It may seem impossible to clean your mess up, but fortunately, there are some simple methods one can use to declutter one’s desk and mind.

The first and most basic step to handling clutter is by creating personal space for oneself. Instead of leaving your stuff all over the place in an unorganized manner, assign specific areas for objects that you need. It’s best to sort your items by importance.

Put other objects that are not as important in drawers. Remember, the top and area underneath your desk is not a storage area. It may be tempting to toss everything under your desk, but it won’t be helpful in the long run.

Put the items that are more necessary in the drawers that are closer and then place objects that don’t matter much further away. Wires and chargers lying around look pretty messy, so hide them away as well.

You don’t need so many pens and pencils to work with. Reduce the number to a maximum of two each and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t work anymore.

Hoarding objects that are of no use may be tempting, but ask yourself whether all that stuff is really necessary. Don’t hesitate to get rid of the articles that don’t matter. Do you really need last week’s shopping list lying around on your desk?

Have piles and piles of papers lying across your workspace? Sort through them and check whether you really need all of it. Scan the documents you don’t need physical copies of and save them as PDF files. These are easier to search through, more environment-friendly, and more efficient all around.

By decluttering regularly, you will have a better workspace and will also experience feelings of accomplishment and motivation, instead of dealing with stress due to disorganization.

It’s  been observed that creative people,  in particular, are highly prone to cluttering. This is because maintaining a system of organization can actually hamper their imagination. They prefer spontaneity and disorganized formats and systems that allow their creative juices to flow.

However, if they continue to remain disorganized, the clutter can actually hamper their creative process. Thus, cleaning up regularly after periods of cluttering can help them be creatively inspired.

A common problem that everyone faces is procrastination. It can be quite tempting to leave all your work for later and have a Netflix binge-watching session instead. In fact, procrastination is indeed  a stress buster during the beginning of school and college semesters.

Down the road however, procrastination actually gives rise to stress. Additionally, your grades may drop, too!

To avoid procrastination, immediately start off the tasks that take less time to finish. By getting those out of the way first, you’ll be able to focus on bigger tasks later as the smaller ones won’t bug you. Not only does this technique reduce distraction, but it also lessens the jumble on your desk.

To avoid distractions while working, keep your phone away from your sight. Hide your modem or router away as well.

As the saying goes, clean space, clear mind. By keeping your workspace neat and tidy, your mental health can improve and you’ll experience a significant lack of stress and anxiety. All that’s required to keep your work organized is cleaning up and sorting through your stuff regularly. A small amount of effort at regular intervals can really impact your daily life positively.

–Arjun Chauhan