The word “clutter” comes from the Middle English word “clotter,” which means to coagulate — that’s about as stuck as one can get.
Clutter affects most of us in one way or another, and by clutter I’m referring to all the accumulated items, including papers that we are afraid to toss, that provide absolutely no inherent value to our daily work tasks. I read somewhere that clutter exists because our brains trick us into thinking that everything is important and necessary.
Strong evidence suggests that when multiple visual stimuli compete for attention, it’s harder to narrow focus and concentrate on tasks at hand. Some days it might seem like our primary function is simply to clean an inbox and arrange the constant flow of papers that come across our desk into ever changing piles. This can lead to ending the workday in frustration.