In my early days of college, I convinced myself that if an activity didn’t serve the purpose of productivity or entertainment, then I shouldn’t spend time on it.
I applied that philosophy to everything in my life—including cleaning. This is basically what would happen: After throwing clothes, books, boxes, and other random stuff on my room’s floor for weeks, I still didn’t believe cleaning made the most of my time. So, I didn’t clean.
What’s the big deal? I even have solid reasons not to clean, all in the name of productivity. However, you’ll see how this mindset failed me.
Why I Was Wrong
From my experiences, leaving my room messy actually hurt my productivity and led to procrastination. I believe this happened because when I walked in, I couldn’t miss the mess and disorder in my room. This hurt my focus for the following three reasons.
First, when I would start to work in my disorganized room, I would notice the mess. Then I would proceed to play around with the things nearby, or throw them in position to be cleaned later. This didn’t serve any significant purpose, since I didn’t accomplish homework or cleaning.
Second, procrastinating on cleaning my messy room set a contagious tone that I could also procrastinate on my school work. I knew I needed to clean my room eventually, but I didn’t do it then. Similarly, I knew I needed to do my homework eventually and didn’t do it either.
In addition, I’m positive that my apathy toward cleaning my room also hurt my focus in other areas of life, like working out and eating healthy.
Third, I wasted valuable time looking for clothes, shoes, keys, and books when my room was messy. The 10 minutes every other day I spent trying to find missing items didn’t help my productivity. Plus, my friends didn’t appreciate waiting when I couldn’t find something.
Although this lazy feeling from a messy room happened more subconsciously than consciously, my productivity became worse as my room grew messier. Thus, I’m convinced that a messy room plays a part in procrastination and lack of focus.
Clean Room Advantages For Focus
Vice versa, a clean room sets the tone for focus and productivity. With a clean room, I can sit down and work without distraction. I get the contagious feeling of focus from my clean environment, and I can find what I’m looking for right away.
In addition, it’s helpful to have a clean room so you don’t have to go somewhere else to study. Making your room a positive study environment can save you travel time to and from somewhere else.
Application For You
Sometimes people (especially me) need to know the why behind what they are supposed to do, before they will actually do it. I knew my room needed to be cleaned, but I didn’t clean it until I knew a legitimate reason for doing so.
Now that you’re aware a clean room improves focus and a messy room leads to procrastination, I want you to take action.
Starting right now, or whenever you’re free today, do these three things.
1. Identify what area is messy in your life. Usually it is your room, but it could be your car, desk, or whatever.
2. Take 15-30 minutes to clean the area.
3. Keep it clean, with increased productivity in the back of your mind.
Readers, comment below on: What area of your life is the messiest? Do you have personal examples where a messy working area hurt your productivity? Or is there anything else you found notable?