The reason lion tamers in the circus use a stool to keep a lion at bay is because the lion gets distracted by the four legs of the stool. The animal's attention keeps going to the individual wooden legs and not towards the delicious person holding the stool.
We're also easily distracted. When there's more than one thing vying for our attention, we get caught up in those things and not much gets done. What gets us caught up in the thing spider web is that we often think that getting involved and lost in the distractions is activity. We feel we're doing something. But we're really just ricocheting attention.
Last week while working with a client she got a text and said she had to take it. I could feel her starting to get frantic as she typed away. When she came back to the clutter busting, there was less of her available. Then a return text came in. She mumbled something, turned away, and then started typing back. She looked agitated. When she was done she looked around the room at the piles and boxes of things and said she didn't know if she could keep clutter busting.
Before the distractions came in, she had a good clutter busting flow going on. She got into the groove of considering just one thing at a time. But once other things demanded her attention and she relented, she began to lose her sense of stability. She was soon back to the overwhelmed by everything state. Her attention was ricocheting off of every item in the room.
I described what was happening to her. I said being surrounded by the presence of things that don't serve us makes our attention bounce off of everything like a pinball off of bumpers. We get caught up in the distractions and it exhausts us and this takes away our capability of doing something about it. It helps to notice the mechanics of what's going on because it can give you an incentive to do something about it. If you know a wool sweater is why your body is itching like crazy, you take it off. When we see what living with the overwhelming distraction of clutter is doing to us, we start to do what we can to eliminate the clutter from our environment.
My client turned off her phone. We set back to the clutter busting. Her attention was sharp and focused.