Despite many who say a messy desk is the sign of a brilliant mind, a group researchers at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute concluded several years ago that we are more productive and less stressed when we clear the clutter from our environment. fMRI and other tools that mapped the brain’s response to various states of clutter and organization yielded conclusive results: improved concentration, increased creativity, better sleep, improved mood and better focus. And that’s just from decluttering our physical environment!

Imagine the benefits from decluttering our virtual environments, as well. After a major physical downsizing and decluttering, I decided it was time to cull thousands of unread emails. Two relatively painless steps have led to an inbox I no longer cringe upon opening:

  1. Unsubscribing from more than a dozen email senders whose emails I usually delete anyway
  2. Setting up “rules” so that certain messages will go straight into a folder where I can look at them if and when I’m ever ready.

I feel lighter and better able to focus on what’s at hand, knowing that there isn’t an important unanswered email hidden between offers for 20% all outdoor furniture and hyped information about cryptocurrencies.

Next up is to clear the mental clutter from juggling too many projects. It may require difficult decisions, but I am on a roll. And I can’t wait to see what benefits lie ahead.

Have you decluttered physically, electronically or project wise lately? Share your experience and tips below.