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5 Ways to De-Clutter Your Mind

5 Ways to De-Clutter Your Mind

We’ve all been there. An important deadline looms, yet no matter how hard we try, we can’t stop thinking about something else. Perhaps it’s an ongoing conflict, an unresolved issue, or something we need to remember to do later on. Whatever the case, having too much mental clutter can prevent us focusing on important tasks in the present.

Here are five quick tips you can use as a quick fix to de-clutter your mind and get on with your day.

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1. Meditate

Even a few minutes of silent meditation can be enough to clear your mind of excess clutter, help you feel more grounded, and improve your focus. For a simple meditation, set a timer for five minutes, focus your eyes a few feet in front of you and shift your focus to your breathing. Whenever you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts, don’t worry. Just bring your awareness back to your breathing as soon as you become aware that your mind is wandering.

2. Journal

Stream-of-consciousness journaling is a great way to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper, especially if you’re getting distracted by thoughts about a particular person, situation or event.

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This kind of journaling is easy in theory, but in practise it can feel alien at first and it can take a few tries to get used to it. To make the most out of stream-of-consciousness journaling, take a blank page (or blank screen) and simply write down whatever comes into your head. All thoughts go on paper, even “I don’t know what to write”.

When we journal using stream-of-consciousness, it’s easy to slip into self-censorship and judgements about what we’re writing. For this kind of journaling to be effective, try to suspend any thoughts about what you should or shouldn’t be writing, the quality of your spelling and grammar, or whether what you’re writing even makes sense. Those things don’t matter; the most important thing is that you have a place to channel your thoughts, whatever they might be.

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3. Talk about it

Talking to others about the topics that are cluttering your mind has two main benefits: it can help you feel validated and heard, and it can also provide you with a different perspective. Often, just having someone listen to and understand what’s on your mind helps relieve some of the urgency and intensity of the thoughts. Equally, hearing someone else’s thoughts and perspectives about what’s on your mind can leave you with new insights and resolution.

4. Do a core dump

If you’re not preoccupied with one topic in particular, but are struggling to stay focused in light of an overwhelming to-do list, brainstorming or carrying out a core dump could be the mental de-cluttering method for you.

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A ‘core dump’ is a term devised by David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done, which is one of the most popular productivity systems in the world. When you carry out a core dump, you write down everything you can think of that requires you to do or remember something, and then organise these items into individual tasks and projects. The more information you store in your head, the more cluttered your thoughts will feel. Transferring these to-do items from your head onto paper or screen frees up valuable space in your mind so you can focus on other things.

5. Change your scene

Changing your scene might sound too simple to be effective, but it really works. When we perform the same activities in the same place over and over again (for example, writing reports in our office), we can get stuck in mental ruts that are associated with that particular activity and place. Moving the activity to a different location can help us look at it with fresh eyes and a new focus, relieving the mental boredom that might lead our mind to wander to other things.

More by this author

Hannah Braime

Hannah is a coach who believes the world is a richer place when we have the courage to be fully self-expressed.

The 5-Step Guide to Self Care for Busy People How to Enjoy Life In a Way Most People Don’t The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 5 Killer Online Journal Tools That Make Journaling Easier and More Fun 7 Practical Ways To Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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