This past Sunday, I was studying for my last final exam of the semester. Exam period always gets a little hectic and my study area can sometimes get a little messy during those two weeks. I try not to let it get too bad, but you still might find a few papers lying around.
I was having a hard time focusing on my notes that particular morning.
At one point, I just stopped and took a little break. I noticed that a few papers on each side of me on my desk were bothering me a little. In two or three minutes, the papers that weren’t of any use any more got recycled and the stuff that I still needed got stored away. All that was left on my desk now was the class material I needed to study.
I sat down at again and I found that focusing on my class notes became much easier. The papers and the folder that were lying on my desk must have been sapping my attention span a little. Often, I don’t have any issues focusing in a slightly messy area, especially if it’s late and I have something due the morning after. The stress generally helps me focus in those times. However, in this particular case, it was still morning and I had all day to study. Since there wasn’t much urgency yet, my attention naturally was more susceptible to shifting toward something else. So, taking a few minutes to declutter my desk at that moment helped reduce the amount of physical objects around me that could steal my attention away.
All in all, reducing amount of stimuli around you could help you focus. It definitely helps me sometimes. There is even a study out there that proves it.
How about you? Does your work area ever get a little messy during busy times? If so, how do you deal with it?