Is Mental Clutter Holding You Back?

You know that you could write that business proposal, film script, or best-selling book if you could just lock those ideas down on paper, on your computer, on a napkin. Somewhere. . . But for some reason, you can’t seem to focus enough to sort out your next move. Chances are: you need to learn how to declutter your mind.

Decluttering your mind and improving mental clarity is a relatively simple process. Like decluttering a room, recognizing the problem (and knowing how to fix it) is the first step toward clearing the mental fog that is blocking your path to success. 

Learn How to Declutter Your Mind

Mental clutter takes many forms. Maybe you are being affected by negative thoughts. Perhaps today is not the day you want to give anything your attention span. There are just so many important tasks you can’t seem to pick one.

Here are three types of mental clutter that keep you from your productive best.
And the good news — how to fix it.

1. You have STOPPED.
Maybe you call this the “zone-out”. You are here when you cannot even find the energy to do what is already on your schedule. Dinner? Can the cat cook, please? Being a sack of potatoes feels good. You are at mental energy zero.

The Fix: Dump and Do
First, you are going to have to move. Break the inertia by finding yourself a pen and piece of paper. Make a list of all the options floating around in your head — even if they are already on a routine or master list. When you are done, pick the easiest, even if it’s not related, and JUST DO IT! (Yes, making your bed counts).Build on the momentum of that first completed task by doing the next easiest. By ticking off a few easy items in a row you create the space for clarity. From there, you can focus on more critical tasks.

Create a Master List (brain dump) to safely keep all your thoughts.

2. You are SPINNING
Spinning is also known as ‘going nowhere’. Your brain is all over the place trying to do a bunch of stuff all at the same time. Focusing on one thing is impossible. Your physical clutter could be part of the problem too. (Someone just dropped a whole bunch of files on your desk. Also, the telephone just rang. What was that again?) This constellation of clutter is known as ‘unnecessary thoughts’.

The Fix: Find the Missing Piece
Take a deep breath. Now pretend you are sitting atop a mountain with just one question to answer: What is missing? To make up for the missing piece, we tend to create all kinds of busy around the idea we are trying to focus on. Once the missing piece is identified, it is easy to determine whether any further steps need to be taken to complete the task. You may even come to the conclusion it is an idea you do not need to pursue at all. *Phew*.

3. You are overly ENERGIZED
How could an energized mind be a bad thing? Good question. When you are here, the ideas are spectacular, but there are so many of them they are like fireworks going off without anyone in control. Not even you. Yoweeee!

The Fix: Check the Big Picture
Let’s put down that cup of coffee for the next hour or so and, instead, evaluate each option. Is Idea A part of the big picture vision for your business (or life)? What about Idea B? If the idea fits well in the big picture, next, check it against the fear factor. When you think about this item, is there an expansive feeling? If so, schedule the time to incorporate it into the mix at the appropriate place. If it isn’t a good fit, or it feels restrictive, let it go, at least for now. Remember, you don’t need to act on every good idea!

Keeping the Clutter at Bay

Now that you know how to declutter your mind and reclaim your mental clarity, be mindful of keeping clutter out. Clear your head (and reduce stress) by going for walks. Swim if it gives you pleasure. Take up gardening (seeing plants grow is not only rewarding, but it also satisfies our sense of purpose). Catch up with friends. Play with your pet. Limit social media! And don’t forget to keep an eye out for any build-up of physical clutter in your space.

Don’t take it as a setback if you feel like you can’t even get your socks sorted. Instead, start moving. Sorting socks is a great little step to build momentum. (Remember Dump and Do?). Can’t focus? Find the missing piece. And all your super, great ideas — too many to pick just one? See if they measure up to your over-all life or business goal.