Have you noticed how much clutter fills your life?
Whether it’s a desk or kitchen counter covered with papers, a “junk” drawer stuffed with items that don’t seem to belong anywhere else — even clutter alongside our roads — or worse, an overwhelmed mind trying to deal with too much. A cluttered mind wears you out and results in poor performance and poor decisions.
But did you know that you can declutter your mind, just as you can declutter that junk drawer in your kitchen?
Declutter your mind and gain clarity:
1. Start with your diet. A poor diet can result in a foggy and confused mind. The main culprit is inflammation and unstable sugar levels. There are plenty of resources available on anti-inflammation diets. Avoid processed foods of all kinds but especially carbohydrates and all the foods that your mother told you were bad for you. (How’d mom get so smart?)
2. Exercise. Few things can clear your mind as well as a good workout. It’s great for your mind and body. And no need to over-exert yourself; a walk around the block or a few jumping jacks or yoga in your living room.
3. Simplify your life. You might just have too much going on. Cut out activities that don’t add significantly to your life or your enjoyment. Clamp down on optional activities. It’s easy to become bogged down by things that don’t matter. (And you can do the same things for your kids. Many kids today are involved in so many activities that they too are overwhelmed and have cluttered minds because of it.)
4. Create habits. Habits eliminate the need for making decisions. It streamlines your thought process. Eating the same thing for breakfast each day is an example of a habit that avoids having to make a decision. Create daily and weekly habits that take care of your basic needs.
5. Use lists. Creating mental notes to yourself to do something at a later day or time requires a lot of mental resources. It’s always in the back of your mind, taking up part of your attention. So write everything down!
• By writing it down, you’re free to eliminate it from your awareness. It’s right there on the paper instead.
6. Utilize single-tasking. Trying to multi-tasking is a mistake. We don’t really need any study to tell us that multi-tasking is a productively killer, but none-the-less, studies have shown that it’s more effective to do only one thing at a time. Complete that and then move on to whatever is next. You’ll stay fresher mentally and get more accomplished each day.
7. Make decisions quickly. Decisions that you put off begin piling up in your mind and take up valuable space and resources. Successful people make decisions quickly and stick with them. Unless you need more information, make a decision. You won’t be any smarter tomorrow or next month, so get it over with and decide. And remember, not making a decision is actually making a decision.
8. Rest your mind each day. Reading, watching TV, or surfing the internet do not count as a rest. Meditation or sitting alone can be considered rest as is taking a nap. Sit outside and enjoy nature every chance you get. Stay focused on your surroundings and avoid allowing your mind to think about anything other than your surroundings.
9. Prioritize. There’s a limit to how much anyone can do in a day. The secret is to get the most important things accomplished. The easiest way to do this is prioritization. Decide what’s most important and start working there. Of if you like getting a few easy items completed so you can strike them from your list, go ahead and do that, but don’t let the little things get in the way of doing the big things you say you want to do.
10. Do something kind for someone else. Your cluttered mind is too focused on your own challenges. Give it all a break by helping someone else. The result is a clearer mind and a refreshed perspective.
• Just two hours of volunteer activity per week has a profound effect on your attitude. It can change your life. It’s a simple thing that can add a lot of value to your life. (And the lives of others.)
Clutter is everywhere. Some is controllable, and some is not.
The clutter between your ears is under your control. Simplify your life as much as possible. The less you have to deal with, the easier it is to avoid mental clutter. Give your mind regular breaks throughout the day. Use your time as advantageously as possible. Prioritize your own good mental well-being. You’ll enjoy the peace and clarity that result and you’ll likely be much happier.