This post forms a part of my Declutter 101 series.
Do you ever find it difficult to concentrate on something because there are lots of other things in your head fighting for your attention? Feel like your brain is overflowing with to-do lists and pieces of information that need to be remembered sometime later down the track? You just don’t know where to start or what to do next because everything seems important. You have brain clutter! Read on to learn how to declutter your mind.
It can be very tiring trying to remember all of the things we need to do and keeping all of the balls in the air at once. It may surprise you to learn that our brains are not actually designed to remember or think about all of those things at the same time. If we fill our working memory with lots of trivial tasks, we prevent ourselves from being able to process the more important things.
How to declutter your mind in the morning!
Here is where we need to use other strategies to store all of that information so we can free up some space to focus on the things that really matter.
1. Do a brain dump.
This is essentially a brainstorm of all of the things you are trying to remember. Write them all down on a piece of paper or note them in a list app on your phone. Put them somewhere you can refer to them later. Make it a habit to refer to your list regularly.
2. Tell someone else about it.
This does not mean that you put all of the responsibility for remembering onto them, but it can help to have a second brain thinking about the thing that needs to be done so that it is not forgotten.
3. Put an alert into your calendar.
If you regularly forget events or appointments, make sure you set an alert to remind you the day before and then again a few hours before. This will give you enough notice so you can get ready and be there on time without fuss.
I find it useful to use a number of these strategies in conjunction with one another.
* I always have a list app on my phone ready to note down the things I need to do, interesting ideas, websites, things people have recommended to me. I read through this each morning before I begin my day.
* I have a different app for my shopping list. (I like to keep these lists separate so it’s easy to see exactly what I need to pick up at the shops without being distracted by the other list.)
* I read through my list, take the tasks for that day and write them in my diary or planner. Sometimes I then put an alert into my phone so I don’t forget to do them throughout the day.
These things help me get myself sorted for the day so that I have a clear idea about where I am going and what I am doing. They give me clarity and reduce the load on my memory so that I can focus on other things in my life. What happens though, when we get to the end of our busy day and find we can’t switch our brains off and relax enough to get some much needed rest?
Then we get to the end of the day and we have been so busy, it can be very difficult to wind down in order to get a good night’s rest.
How to declutter your mind in the evening!
If you regularly find your mind churning, and it’s very difficult to switch off, there are a couple of things you can try.
1. Dim the lights in the house in the evening.
Bright lights affect the brain by making us think it is time to be awake. Low lights in the evening before bed tell our body clocks that it’s time to begin preparing for sleep. See what the experts have to say about how light affects sleep.
2. Turn off electronic devices early.
The blue light emitted from these devices can also affect the brain and our body clocks by stimulating the secretion of hormones that wake us up rather than put us to sleep. Turning them off early will help the body to adjust in time for bed.
3. Avoid work tasks in the evening.
Some of us can also get into the bad habit of checking work emails or completing work tasks in the evening before bed. Depending upon the type of work you do of course, this may be difficult, but there is a reason the work day ends and we go home. The whole idea is to enable us to rest and recharge so we are ready to tackle things again tomorrow. When we bring our work home with us, read emails from difficult clients or otherwise focus on the work tasks still left to do, we prevent this important mental break from occurring.
4. Declutter your physical space.
We know that a cluttered environment can have a negative effect upon our mind. It can cause feelings of overwhelm and stress. Spend a few minutes each evening clearing one small spot and begin to feel a sense of space in both your home and your life.
5. Read a boring book.
It must be a boring book, not an exciting one. An exciting book can have the opposite effect by making us want to stay up to find out what happens next. We don’t want that. We actually want to slow our brain down and prepare ourselves for sleep, not stimulate it with an exciting page turner. Don’t however, choose one that is so boring you start thinking about other things when you are reading it.
6. Try meditation.
There are lots of great meditation apps out there which are free to download to your phone. Try listening to one before going to sleep. This can help to slow the brain down and clear your head so there is nothing distracting you from a good night’s sleep.
7. Have a long, hot bath.
The hot water can help to relax your body and in turn relax your mind. Add some magnesium salts to give a little bit more relaxation. Then add that boring book and you will be switched off and collapsing into bed in no time.
So, if you find yourself overwhelmed, I recommend noting down the important tasks so you no longer need to try to remember them, using technology to help out by setting alerts into a phone or watch and then trying some of these evening strategies to clear your mind before going to bed at night.
Need help decluttering your physical space so you can clear some mental space? Grab a copy of my SOS decluttering system below for a head start.
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