By Sunny Simon

     Did you know that in 95% of Japanese schools there’s no need for a janitor? I realize this is an odd way to begin one of my columns, but I watched a video clip on the subject worth mentioning. In Japan, students clean their classrooms every day. Educators believe this teaches them humility, modesty and teamwork. No wonder Japan ranks as the world’s cleanest country.

     I tell you this to draw a parallel. The benefits of cleaning a school room are akin to putting a little spit and polish on your work or home office. It should come as no surprise that streamlining your workspace can bolster your productivity. I’m not going to tell you how to set up a tidy desk area, for that you can check with the international expert Marie Kondō , author of the best-seller book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

     You feel more at peace and put together when both your home and your mind are uncluttered. According to Psychology Today, science can prove keeping your environment clean and organized is highly beneficial. In fact, research scientists at Indiana University found that people with clean houses are healthier than individuals with messy homes.


     Leave it to Princeton University to discover it’s all about the brain. Ready for the geeky stuff? Their findings indicated the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, (what we might term clutter on our desktop). This makes it difficult to allocate attention to the task at hand and complete it efficiently.

     What about the association of clutter and memory loss? Research supports that one too. According to studies done by Lynn Hasher at the University of Toronto, material clogging up your neural networks slows you down making you less efficient in processing information. This can result in incapacitation of your short-term memory causing you to forget information you should know.

     Think food and clutter are related? Here’s a fun fact. A joint United States and Australian study showed people actually eat more snacks and cookies if the environment in which they are offered food is chaotic.

    Have I convinced you to get out that trash bag and start streamlining your environment? Oh and remember clutter can be physical or virtual. One glance at my phone text messages tells me I have some heavy duty purging to do.

     Start today, make it a point to purge and clean. You’ll be pleased with your surroundings and improve your mental acuity. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at

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