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Last Updated on July 10, 2018

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

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.

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.[1]

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.[2]

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,

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    “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,[3]

    “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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          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.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

          More by this author

          RebeccaLynn Bologna

          MBA, Mom mentor and Business coach

          How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster How to Fix Burning out at Work and Get Back on Track What the Most Successful People Do in the Evening Real Passion Will Never Die Out? False.

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

          8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

          You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

          Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

          When you train your brain, you will:

          • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
          • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
          • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

          So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

          1. Work your memory

          Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

          When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

          If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

          The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

          Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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          Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

          What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

          For example, say you just met someone new:

          “Hi, my name is George”

          Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

          Got it? Good.

          2. Do something different repeatedly

          By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

          Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

          It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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          And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

          But how does this apply to your life right now?

          Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

          Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

          Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

          So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

          You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

          That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

          3. Learn something new

          It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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          For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

          Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

          You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

          4. Follow a brain training program

          The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

          5. Work your body

          You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

          Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

          Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

          Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

          6. Spend time with your loved ones

          If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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          If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

          I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

          7. Avoid crossword puzzles

          Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

          Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

          Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

          8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

          Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

          When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

          So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

          The bottom line

          Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

          Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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