Our minds are basically organized like human computers. They function to a great extent in much the same way. So, if we want to improve our daily productivity, efficiency and focus, we need to empty the cache of temporary “files” and reboot for our brains to allow us perform at our peak levels.

Otherwise we can easily experience brain overload with too many circuits firing simultaneously and so many programs (thoughts) working in the shadows that we often “freeze up” and cannot remember everything or simply process the information in a much slower and less efficient manner than we’d like.

It sounds odd, but when you stop to consider, it actually makes sense. The best part is that’s not difficult or time consuming at all. It really only requires a few minutes each day and surprisingly simple tools.

A 3 Step Process

1. Choose your best time – Ideally, this process is best done, twice each day, first thing in the morning and again before bedtime, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Choose the time that works best for you. Any time will work. The key is to do it consistently.

I have found that I need to my morning coffee, breakfast, and exercise first. My brain has to wake up a bit. I apparently need a caffeine kick, fuel and stress release in order to form coherent thoughts.

2. Choose your method of logging – Any number of apps on your phone will work well to record thoughts and tasks. If you prefer, you can use the voice-recording feature. Even the basic note function works fine. An organizational program or document, such as Outlook, OneNote, or Evernote on your computer will work as well.

Though I tend to be a “techie” by nature, I still prefer to use a pen and pad for this process. Sometimes the simplest method is the most effective. Whatever tool you choose, make sure it’s quick, and readily accessible.

3. Quickly dump everything you’re keeping in your head – And I mean everything… Not just tasks, but thoughts, concerns, questions, and ideas too. Get it all out. Don’t worry about sorting them; you can do that later, just get them out of your head so that they can stop spinning around, using up precious brainpower and space.

Once you’re finished, ask yourself if you need or want to act on any of these items today.

If the answer is yes:

  • Add those tasks to your ongoing task or to-do list (you have one of those right?)
  • Cross them off or remove them.

If the answer is no:

Is it an idea? – Add it to an idea file, work notebook, or document to pursue later.

Is it really more of a question or concerns you have? – Record it in a journal or notebook to mull over at another time. (If you never go back to consider them, they probably weren’t that important.)

It’s that simple. It should take no more than 5 – 10 minutes

Benefits

By making it a habit to set aside a few minutes each day to empty and organize your brain, you can drastically improve your ability to focus, complete tasks, and achieve your goals. A streamlined mind is much more effective than a perpetually overloaded one.

In addition, an overloaded brain forgets things; important tasks, details and deadlines. The quality of our output suffers as well. We are simply unable to concentrate and use our intelligence and skills to their highest potential.

As a side benefit, you’ll find better balance, less stress and increased energy. Swirling thoughts cause an enormous amount of stress and prevent our minds from truly ever resting. This results in brain fatigue, which keeps us exhausted and irritable.

When we’re unable to let go of thoughts and responsibilities that plague us, we are no longer constantly preoccupied. We are better able to quiet our mind and enjoy the other parts of our lives. When we aren’t stuck in our head, we can fully engage with the rest of the world outside us.

That’s not bad for a 5-10 minute investment.

(Photo credit: Old engraving illustration of human brains top view via Shutterstock)

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