Declutter your mind.
It’s the fastest way to combat that feeling of constant distraction.
That nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something – or someone.
Declutter and you’ll find focus again.
My mind starts working in too many directions.
Think: pinball machine, with way too many pin-balls flying around.
And what happens when we don’t focus on just one of those pinballs?
We drop the other balls. The others drop through the gate.
We lose. We get stressed.
Stress and clutter are tightly linked for me and many people I organize and coach with.
Is it like this for you?
I start forgetting things.
I say things which aren’t quite what I mean – not as articulate as I like to be.
I don’t listen as well; I’m not as present.
I don’t get as much done – in my personal or my business life, cuz it’s all just too darn cluttered up in my head.
10 Ways to Declutter Your Mind
- Pick something, ANYTHING and finish it.Don’t waste time deciding if it’s the “right” thing to finish. The point is to start making those pinballs go away, one by one.
- Write down whatever is in your head. On whatever is available. Don’t go looking for the perfect list or notepad or your phone. Grab whatever is nearby and just get it out of your head. Later, sit with your temporary list. Think about and process each item on the list. Decide what deserves space on your regular task/to do/next actions list. Consolidate.
- Walk away from your desk. Go do something. Get some energy out of your body. I go out to the deck and take a few deep breaths. I walk away from work and I see things differently.
- Use your phone, tape recorder, Dragon software or anything that will hold your voice. Record everything in your head. The specific tool does not matter. What does matter is that if you’re highly verbal, talking out loud to declutter your brain will be more effective for you.
- Create something if you’re artistic. This could be something beautiful made of fabric or it could be a visual mind map. Take a break to clear your head and process while you take the creativity break. Or draw the mindmap if that will help get stuff out of your head. The non linear, creative and kinesthetic all tied into one.
- Take a walk and literally, go smell the flowers. Let the aroma fill your senses and clear your head. Get perspective and then see if you still need to write down what’s in your head. You may just have needed perspective or a break.
- Call up your accountability partner, your friend, your organizing coach. Talk out loud about everything that’s in your head, or that one thing you can’t figure out on your own. Talking it through out loud, with some good and powerful questions, will release the clutter and you’ll start solving whatever that problem is you’re wrestling with.
- What do you need to let go of? And how have you let go of other things; would that work in this situation?
- How else can you occupy your mind – fidget to focus (ADHD book title) is apt here – if you listen to music or a book while you work, would that clear the clutter and allow some focus?
- Go play with your dog. Call your child/grandchild/nephew. Step into work or out of work, depending on where your head is at.
And Then Going Forward:
How did your mind get cluttered to begin with?
Answer that question each time you feel this way, and you’ll get to your own set of insights.
Some options until then:
- Use a calendar and a to do list. Appointments versus stuff to do.
- Keep a projects list.
- To trap your creative ideas you don’t want to forget, buy or repurpose something beautiful. Something unusual.
- Take time in the a.m., mid day and definitely end of the day to empty your head.
- Begin to notice how much you can handle in a day, what your limits are, and what causes the cluttered mind feeling ?
- Notice how certain people affect your feeling of a cluttered mind or whether it’s certain types of projects.
- Is it a certain time of day – then clear the clutter as you begin that part of the day.
- Sometimes, it’s the feelings around the stuff, not the stuff itself. Learn to notice how you’re feeling and recognize what the real, root cause is. Get this under control and things will seem calmer.
So what’s decluttering your mind these days? And how can I support your decluttering efforts?
Stress management posts by 22 organizers/other professionals – requested & aggregated by Calahan Solutions, productivity specialists.
Coaching/organizing: Click here for support.