Clutter is a word that’s commonly associated with objects and things, but it doesn’t have to be tangible to have a negative impact on your life. Now that our digital life runs parallel to our real one, maintaining it should be one of our priorities.
The BBC reports that new studies on technology posit the existence of digital hoarding — the accumulation of digital files like documents, photos, apps, emails, and more — claiming that this phenomenon can make us feel just as stressed as having too many objects. These problems hinder your work life, making it harder for you to find a document or an email, and can also create cybersecurity issues.
Defined as the “accumulation of digital files to the point of loss of perspective, which eventually results in stress and disorganization,” digital hoarding can seriously affect your life, very much like a real disease.
A study from 2018 surveyed over 840 people and tried to find a relationship between digital habits and stress. The link was found, with subjects who hoarded files finding it harder to make decisions. “If they get to that point where they’ve become overwhelmed by the data that they’ve got, that they can’t find things, that things are getting lost… that may indicate that there’s some kind of problem,” says Nick Neave, director of a hoarding research group at Northumbria University.
Experts believe that beloved tools like the Cloud and Google Drive facilitate these types of behaviors, allowing users to have thousands of photos and documents not because they find value in them, but because they’re allowed to. Maybe we should all painstakingly comb through our files, getting rid of what we don’t need and really appreciating what matters most.