Declutter Your Mind

Matthew Giles

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Declutter more than your home, your office space, or even your kitchen. It can all start with your mind. While we should do what we can to breathe, stretch, and decompress, the mind is the engine that runs our very being. We carry so much on our proverbial shoulders (on a daily basis) that packing it away, moving stress to the side and most times avoiding our triggers is the path of least resistance. What if we told you that starting to organize your mind, like a room, is the long term win, and not just a short term bandaid.

We took a few lessons from some industry leaders in unpacking (no not Marie Kondo) and put together a tool kit for you.

Fix your space.

Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. First of all, clutter bombards the mind with excessive stimuli, which forces the brain to work overtime. Secondly, physical clutter signals to the brain that there’s always something else that needs to be done, which is mentally exhausting. As you declutter you’ll discover that your mind is also decluttered.

Take notes.

You don’t need to keep everything stored in your brain. Choose a tool—it can be an online tool, an app, or even a pad of paper—and think of it as a storage device for all those bits and pieces of information that you need to remember. This can include appointments, phone numbers, ideas for future projects, and so on.

Let it go.

Mind clutter is often related to the past. Most people keep a large cabinet of mental drawers stored in the back of their minds. These drawers are filled with mistakes they’ve made, opportunities they’ve missed, people they’ve hurt, past grievances, and so on.

Take the time to go through those mental drawers and discard memories of the past that are not serving you well and are just cluttering up your current life.

Stop trying to ‘multitask’.

If your house is a mess and you need to organize and declutter it, how would you begin? You would probably start by choosing one important area—for example, the kitchen table—and clearing it of all clutter.

The mental equivalent of clearing off the kitchen table is to choose a certain amount of time that you’re going to devote exclusively to one important task. During that time push all mental clutter to the side and focus all of your attention on the task at hand.

Visualize a table that is clear of all items, except for the one task which you’re going to be working on.  Make sure that the table stays clear of all other items during the entire chunk of time that you’ve devoted to this task. If anything else tries to work its way onto the table, mentally push it off.

Control the flow (of information).

Too much information can clog up the brain. This includes the information that you take in each day by reading newspapers, blogs, and magazines; watching TV; participating in social media; surfing the web on your smartphone; and so on.

Limit the amount of information that comes into your life—and create space in your brain–by doing the following:

Turn on autopilot.

Small, routine tasks can occupy a lot of brain space. This can include things such as

  • Deciding what to have for breakfast each morning;
  • Deciding what you’re going to wear each day;
  • Making a decision on what to eat for lunch; and so on.

You can reduce the amount of brain space that’s taken up by these routine tasks by putting them on auto-pilot.

There you have it. Start now or tomorrow, but start small, and don’t try it all at once.

End of the Story

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