When you have many thoughts in your mind, it can be overwhelming. Maybe you won’t be able to focus on just the thing you’re working on because of other things on your mind; or worse, you can’t fall asleep because of all the thoughts that get stuck in your brain.
But don’t worry, in this article I’ll get you some practical tips on how to declutter your mind for a sharper brain.
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Why is your mind cluttered?
With access to different information platforms like Google, Facebook, News channels, families and even your own perspectives walking down the street, your mind becomes cluttered. Your brain is busier than ever before as an information-processing system.
As you sit down to work in front of your computer, you may find yourself too overwhelmed to focus. Your head is stuck and you are mentally paralyzed.
An office worker could be trying to finish his project but gets distracted by customer emails. A mom of two kids could be wondering how she would ever be able to meet her deadline. An entrepreneur could be battling his fears of not doing good enough and thinking about getting a new job.
What happens all the time is that you don’t give your brain one thing to focus on. Your brain is trying to focus on too many things at once and you end up getting stuck.
According to Psychology Today,
“Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli, causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.”
When you are not giving yourself a place to focus, your mind chooses to focus on the fears and negative emotions. This makes you end up losing time and money.
How to declutter your mind — utilizing a brain dump
Decluttering your mind starts with a brain dump. It can last as quick as ten minutes.
According to Tech Target,
“A brain dump is a complete transfer of accessible knowledge about a particular subject from your brain to some other storage medium, such as paper or your computer’s hard drive.”
Brain dumps is the best way to take everything going on in your head out onto paper. This can get yourself out of a state of overwhelm and confusion, and turn your mental paralysis into action.
By doing an effective brain dump, you release all of the information your brain tries to store and allows you to decide what is important.
1. Do a brain dump for 10 minutes every day
Each night when you are done for the day, do a brain dump exercise.
Use this information to build out your to do list for the next day. This also frees up your mind to focus on family and even sleep.
You may find that when you get started with a brain dump, you have a hard time writing down what is in your mind.
At other times you may mass distribute the words in your head onto paper at rapid speed.
Whichever the case, grab a pen and paper and set the timer for ten minutes.
Whatever comes to your mind, write it down. Do not edit as you write or worry about grammar. By simply writing, you transfer all of that information and later you will read this information and store it as needed.
Write for ten minutes straight, if you cannot think of anything to write, write “I have nothing to write”. Doing this keeps your pen to paper and opens up the creative flow.
2. Categorize your brain dump
Jotting everything down on paper and putting items into your calendar is the goal. It starts with looking at your braindump and identifying the themes.
- Are there projects / tasks on the paper?
- Which items are new ideas?
- Which items are work related, family related, or hobby related?
Create different categories and begin organizing each of the items on your braindump. Include a miscellaneous section for the random thoughts that you have.
When you start to organize your brain dump, you can see where your mind is focused and possibly where you need to spend more time.
An effective brain dump will allow you to focus on what matters. What you write down may not be relevant right now but you may need it at a future date.
3. Turn ideas into a to-do list
When you do your brain dumps at night, you are able to create your to-do list for the next day and set yourself up for success. Instead of showing up to work the next morning to get organized, you are ready to go and can jump right in.
While building your to-do list, you can either defer tasks to a later date or delegate them out.
Take a look at your calendar and start carving in the time. Identify the tasks that need to be done the next day or a few days later, focusing in on two to three major tasks a day. You can prioritize the tasks based on their importance and urgency.
When braindumping becomes a part of your life, you will notice that you’re less overwhelmed and have more time to focus on tasks at hand. You will see a boost in your productivity and the quality of work.
The less clutter, the sharper your brain
Brain dumping is a great way to declutter your brain, from negative emotions to the tasks you work on each day.
At the end of your day, conduct a brain dump for ten minutes. Give yourself enough time after the brain dump to take a look at the tasks on your list.
Identify the tasks that have a high priority and cannot be delegated or deferred, and begin to place the high priority tasks into your calendar.
By focusing on the tasks each day, you know what you are working on and what your next step is. You will save a lot of time and energy by spending it on what matters.