Looking for ways to declutter your mind now that the winter gloom is gone? Some of the following ways are actually forms of multi-tasking in the best possible way. Multi-tasking in a traditional sense doesn’t work well, but things like decluttering your space to declutter your mind get your house clean, for example, and give you clarity.
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6 Ways to Declutter Your Mind
When your mind gets bogged down, it can feel next to impossible to finish everyday tasks in any amount of time that makes sense. Just like you have to clean your bedroom and living room, you need to take some time to declutter your mind, too. It’ll help boost your productivity and creativity, and you’ll feel so much lighter and happier.
Declutter Your Space
One of the fastest ways to make a change in the state of your brain is to clean up your space. Especially if you work from home. Starting to feel frazzled? Take a look around. Visual clutter can kill your productivity and mental clarity. Forget all about being creative and feeling inspired.
Sometimes I’ll realize I need to clear clutter, dust, vacuum, take an extra pair of shoes upstairs, or maybe even clear off some of the tabs on my laptop screen. Have you ever tried to accomplish something on the computer with 20 tabs open?? It’s draining!
Psst…Get Those Cords Out of View
Another thing to look at: Can you hide or organize some of the cords in your line of sight? Those things drive me crazy. I used to have trouble sitting in our living room because there were so many cords from everything–Internet, TV, speakers–and I didn’t know what to do with them. If you do, I’d love to hear how you manage them.
My husband and I changed some stuff around with our Internet and TV service providers and somehow ended up with fewer cords. It’s less of an issue now, but not because of anything I actually did, other than switching services. Even with that small change, I feel so much better hanging out in there.
Try Evernote for “Brain Dumps”
I know some people hate that term. I’m sorry if you do. It’s the best way I can describe it, though.
Ever just turn your whole purse upside-down to look for something or to switch to a different purse instead of carefully pulling things out one at a time? Quick, easy, you get organized more quickly, and you’re done. Same thing with your brain when you just pour everything bouncing around in your head–all the to-dos, especially–onto a page or into an app.
It’s one of the quickest ways to declutter your mind and untangle that ball of yarn you’ve got rolling around up there.
I am so not a tech person. It took me a long time to do more than just open Evernote and say, “Okay, cool, so that’s what it’s like,” and then forget all about it again. But I kept finding myself full of ideas or lists of things I needed to take care of with nowhere to write things down.
No Need to Juggle Dozens of Notebooks
I ended up with about 50 notebooks between my purse, my desk drawer, by the bed, and in random stacks. They contained notes for blog posts, things I needed to do for my blog, books I wanted to write, articles I needed to pitch, etc.
Evernote is keeping me sane, y’all. I still use my paper notebooks and planner and will probably never, ever give them up, but there aren’t as many of them and each one serves a specific purpose. But my phone is always with me and Evernote, to me, seems easier to manage than a bunch of notes in the Notes app. (Yep, I have a ton of those too, just like paper notebooks.)
Sometimes I’ll go through Evernote and jot things down in their respective notebooks just for fun and to reiterate my goals to myself.
Start Using a Paper Planner
Sound like I’m contradicting myself? I’m not, really. Even though I use Evernote for ongoing lists and ideas, I’ll probably never give up my paper planner. I fill it out each night to get as much out of my brain and onto the page as possible so I can sleep better. There aren’t any swirling thoughts that I feel like I need to keep up with because they’re all written down.
For some reason, writing things down by hand feels a lot better and more relaxing than typing things into my phone. I add things and mark things off throughout the day when I’m at my desk. Again, this feels a lot better to me than clicking in a box or to mark something off the list or highlighting and deleting in an app on my phone.
Some planners have room for gratitude, tracking water, daily habits, and more. I love those little extra features. Right now, I’m loving the Commit30 Planner. There’s room at the beginning of each month where you can fill out your main goal for the next 30 days. Then you have room each week for a life to-do list, a work to-do list, and notes (gratitude, meals, etc).
Take a Breather
This might be the most difficult of all if you’re like me. I cannot relax, even to declutter my mind. Well, now I can, but it’s still difficult. It used to be a foreign concept to me. Even when I was younger lying down always meant taking a textbook to bed with me until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. The thought of a five-minute meditation made me want to cry. I think I did cry when my husband suggested it to me, way back in the day. I fought so hard against being still and doing nothing.
Sometimes the pursuit of productivity slows us down more than just giving ourselves permission to take time off. Lighten up on yourself and you’ll probably find your way back to joy, at least a few steps in the right direction. We need the downtime to create space in the brain for all the good, creative ideas. If you work from home or your job expects you to be “on” even when you’re at home, see if you can totally unplug for at least a weekend.
Skip Social Media for a Day or More
I know some jobs won’t make that (or any kind of break) easy, but if you can manage, you’ll come back to work feeling so refreshed. I took this past weekend off and didn’t do much on the computer or social media at all, and I’ve had my most productive Monday in a long time. (I’m scheduling this post when I finish so it may not actually be a Monday.)
I feel like social media tricks us into thinking we’re resting as we scroll, but it’s really mental quicksand. Comparisons, mental to-do lists that accumulate, feeling less than, and getting so sidetracked by what everyone else is doing that we veer off our own path kill the relaxed vibe. It doesn’t matter that you’re sitting still, casually scrolling through, double-tapping pics with your thumb absentmindedly as you go.
Prep as Much as You Can
Meal prep for 2, 3, 5, even 7 days so your mind is free to do other things besides worry about what you’re going to eat and when you’re going to make it. Knock out the little miscellaneous details for work that need to be done so you can move on to the bigger projects. It’s amazing how “chunking” your daily and weekly tasks can seriously declutter your mind.
Plan your day by time (but leave some white space!). Getting this organized will feel restrictive at first, but it really keeps your “work” tasks (even the housework) from creeping in like The Blob and wrecking your day. You’ll find that your mind is free to play–be silly with your kids, explore hobbies, doodle absentmindedly like you used to as a kid.
Prepping frees up little pockets of time that you would’ve been spending on more work through the week. Those little stolen moments add up.
Chat with Someone You’re Close To
Sometimes I have to call someone or send them an email. Getting my thoughts out of my head and bouncing them off of someone else can really help me sort things out. I apologize in advance, ask them to let me just talk, and as the words come out, I can feel all the little bricks of thought stacking neatly on top of each other. The ones I don’t need get tossed and my mind becomes less that closet that you never want anyone to open the door to and more like a nice meadow.
Warn your friend, husband, or whoever so they know what’s coming, and then just blab. They may not even need to say anything at all by the end (takes the pressure off of them to know they don’t have to give you any kind of advice, too). Getting it all out helps you sort it out and organize your thoughts. Think about cleaning out and re-organizing the pantry. Similar concept.
If Your List of Friends Is the Least Cluttered Thing in Your Life…
If you don’t have a close friend you trust with your thoughts right now, it’s totally okay. Been there. A lot of people have been there…or they even live there. Nothing wrong with it.
If there’s no one in your life right now that you feel like you could open up to like you really need to, journaling could help. Even when you don’t think you have anything to write down, just set a timer for five or ten minutes and do a stream-of-consciousness writing. Whatever comes to your mind flows down your arm, to your hand, and out of the pen onto the page.
Is it a serious topic that you’re really struggling with and more than just brain clutter you need to sort through? Consider making an appointment with a professional. They get paid to listen (so you don’t have to feel guilty for unloading on them), they’re going to be unbiased, and they can’t tell anyone what you’ve told them so you don’t have to worry anything you don’t want getting out, getting spread around town.
How Often Do You Work to Declutter Your Mind?
What’s your favorite way to declutter your mind? How often do you make a conscious effort to do it? Is there anything you do right now on a daily basis that serves that purpose? There are things I like to do each day, each week, and every now and then when I can tell I need it.