If you want to attract new clients, start a business, or get more done, you will be well served by evaluating the extent to which physical clutter is impacting your ability to process information and focus. Consider the science mounting up that clutter has a profound effect on your productivity. According to an article in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that: “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.” In other words, clutter competes for your attention and limits your brain’s ability to focus. I have observed this first-hand. A lawyer I once worked with had an office that was so messy, you could not walk through without risking a slip on the papers lying on the floor. His desk and chairs were piled with papers and there were boxes outside his door. Although highly intelligent, skilled and knowledgeable, he had difficulty getting things done and often worked longer hours than necessary. His physical environment was choking him, tamping out his ability to efficiently manage his caseload and creating more of what he did not want—additional hours at the office.

Since spring is a traditional time to clear the decks, we are dedicating this column to the consequences clutter creates in our lives and addressing strategies to deal with it.

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