Declutter your mind. It's a topic that has come up in conversation a lot lately. How do you clear out the clutter? Of course, we're used to discussions on decluttering our homes but our mind? It makes sense, our mind is where all the ideas, timelines, to do lists and kids schedules, plus thoughts of a disagreement at work, a project that needs to be restructured, the health scare of a team member or a sick child all float around. It's no wonder we lay awake at night, unable to sleep. We can't shut the mind down.
Mental clutter is a thing. It's when the mind has too many thoughts racing around, making it difficult to process anything. So, while you know how to clean a closet, where do you even start to declutter your mind? Here are six basic steps that have helped us jump start the cleaning process. Begin with a deep breath, then:
- Write it down. Don't make your brain work overtime or fear you'll forget something, write your to-do lists in a note book, use a sticky note or download a list app on your smart phone. Find what works best for you, it may even be a combination of apps, sticky notes and a note book. If it works for you, use it!
- Prioritize. Once you have your list, prioritize what must be done. We hear this a lot, "If I get 10 of the 15 things on my list completed, I still feel like a failure at the end of the day." Keep in mind, you are not a failure if you don't get your entire to-do list complete. When you prioritize you know the 3-4 things you absolutely need to get done, you've already accepted the rest of the list can wait until another day. Stop putting excess pressure on yourself, take a breath, you did great!
- It's okay to say no. I spent years saying yes to every charity event or function that wanted me to assist or speak, it was part of my job and my lifeline, I loved it! But, as life got busy, kids entered the picture, jobs changed, I needed to find balance. That doesn't mean I'm a bad person because I started saying no. What I focus on is saying yes to the events I have a passion for, whether it's helping a charity or my child's school, it's my choice, make it your choice too.
- Clear your Calendar. If you're honest with yourself, there are meetings or events in your calendar right now that you don't have to attend. Think of it as a, need to attend vs. nice to attend If there's a meeting you can send a team member in your place or ask for follow up notes, make it happen. You just bought yourself back an hour of your time.
- Set aside time for you, find balance. Take yoga, meditate, clean a closet, take a vacation, play at the park with your family. Whatever makes you happy, take the time to, as cliché as it sounds, stop and smell the roses. We're reminded each day how precious life is, find the time to enjoy it.
- Set limits. There's so much information at your fingertips, you have to figure out when enough is enough. I'm the first to say I enjoy social media but it can also kill a lot of time. When you feel overwhelmed at work, are working against deadlines, limit your screen time. The same holds true at home, shutdown, put your phone down, put your computer away and tune in to nature, your family and your friends. So often we run on overload all day, it's a great way to refresh so we can hit the ground running tomorrow.
If six steps seem too overwhelming, simply start with the one step you believe will make the biggest impact on your day to day. Once you've mastered that step, you can add another. Who knows, maybe that one step will clear enough space for a more peaceful night's sleep. Happy dreams!