You’re relaxing on the couch with a glass of wine, watching back-to-back OITNB.
The kids are tucked into bed.
But from the corner of your eye, you can't let go of the general debris. Dust. Missing remote. That stray piece of dry spaghetti you've just noticed clinging to the dining table leg.
Kinda ruins the vibe, right?
When you’re in a space that looks and feels appealing to you - like a well-decorated coffee shop, a well-appointed office or a well-comfortable living room, notice how it makes you feel. It makes you breathe in deeper, notice more features and highlights in the room, and gives you a general sense of well being.
A clutter-free, tidy area is an instant soothing place to rest your eyes. It makes you feel good.
And guess why it makes you feel this way? It's not their interior designers' mad skills, or some overpriced corporate mood-matching paint. It's good old science! Studies show when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter competes for your attention in the same way a toddler might stand next to you annoyingly repeating, “candy, candy, candy, candy, I want candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy …” Even though you might be able to focus a little, you’re still aware that a screaming toddler is also vying for your attention. The annoyance also wears down your mental resources and you’re more likely to become frustrated.
Researchers from Princeton University Neuroscience Institute used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and other physiological measurement tools to map the brain’s responses to organized and disorganized stimuli and to monitor task performance. The conclusions were strong — if you want to focus to the best of your ability and process information as effectively as possible, you need to clear the clutter from your home and work environment. This research shows that you will be less irritable, more productive, distracted less often, and able to process information better with an uncluttered and organized home and office.
So, here's 3 ways to roll with science, and keep your sacred downtime as just that- just as a busy mom deserves.
1. Set a Pomodoro timer after dinner, and get everyone involved. Yep, kids too. A Pomodoro is 25 minutes of uninterrupted 'busy time'. 25 minutes is long enough for a once-over of two rooms, removing general living debris, sending rubbish to the bin and placing the remaining stray items in baskets in each room. Did I say CLEAN? Nope. Nobody's got time for that, it's a school night! Dump the junk in a separate basket in each room- leave them for when you're not living through your mid-week mania. When you find a calm moment in your day, you can remove and place the items back to their home while walking the basket around.
2. Plan your night out to be distraction free. Check your Google Calendar to be sure you're not missing anything important. Check your to do list and pop any items you need for the next day in a safe place you're sure to see in the morning. Then, turn your phone to airplane mode so no one bugs you, and jump on your tablet or laptop instead for your TV/reading breaks.
3. Be kind to yourself. We all get anxiety- because our modern lifestyles mean we could fill our schedule four times over if we wanted to. There aren't any Dust Police visiting and check your home. If you truly feel overwhelmed like you can't keep up, book in with us for a once-off or regular clean. Trust you're doing a great job, prioritise what you need to, and outsource the rest where you can. Turn off Frozen, get the kids to bed, and let it go.