Mental Hoarding

Hoarding has gotten a lot of press over the last year, thanks in large measure to a reality show called Hoarders.  What keeps me watching the show is my fascination with a different kind of hoarding — one that can afflict today’s knowledge workers with very little outward sign: mental hoarding.

Considering the volume of information the average office worker processes in a week – and the fact that this information flow shows no signs of slowing down – this is a very good time to become skilled at clearing out and decluttering the mind.

Unlike possessions hoarding, brain clutter could easily build in private and go undetected for years.  I envision cerebral passageways narrowed by the accumulation of unused information – stuff we retain because we might need it someday.  Many of us have this problem with our computer hard drives.  Ever spent twenty minutes searching for a document buried deep within folders filled with files you haven’t accessed in years?  What makes us keep everything?  I would guess it’s the conviction that just as soon as we hit the delete key someone will have a dire need for that very file.

Funny, that’s exactly what the hoarders say.


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