“C’mon brain, stop being so all over the place, and get to it!”
– Taken from the internal monologue of my brain, telling my brain to use my brains better
Do you ever get the feeling that there is just too much on your mind, and yet there is little it converts to? That similar to a computer, there are too many tabs open, and that too much information is making you work slower, be slower? Well, if you do, I have kinda-good news, bad news, and some actual good news.
The kinda-good news is that you are not alone in feeling like your brain is exhausted often. Even millions around you will attest to the same feeling. The bad news is that even though a lot of people feel this way, the personal struggle in this direction is often daunting, and can take time to figure and restructure. The absolute good news is you have it in you to make small changes that will help declutter that overworked brain. But before we go into how to actually make those changes, here’s why decluttering makes so much sense.
- It helps gather clarity, peace and very importantly, focus on things of importance
- It is the gateway to acquiring new knowledge, that is more you-relevant
- It is a necessary step in reducing worries, anxieties, and negative thinking
One thing is for sure: If you are here, reading what you are, you probably think it’s going to be an uphill task changing the things your body and mind have gotten used to. I am just going to agree with you and say yeah, I feel similarly as well. The point, however, is we are capable of change in the smallest bits, and all it takes is a steadfast belief that this is what you truly want. Here are 5 steps you can employ towards getting more happening for you, in every sense of the word.
1. Prioritize the things in your life
We all want to have epic things happening for us, but often, the first obstacle we face is one of infinite choice. The world is made of innumerable things that we can concentrate on, and also, infinitely get confused about. We live our entire lives finding things that interest and demand our time. The aim, always, must be to prioritize these things according to the degree of importance they hold. An active sense of prioritizing helps us remember what is important at the moment, and what should be pushed for later. As famed author Dan Millman puts it,
I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything… at least not at the same time. So, think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.
2. Physical Mess = Mental Stress
I absolutely hate this point. But from personal experience, I can tell you it’s righter than whatever I chose to think about the two entities being unrelated. If you are one to live in a constant state of clutter, be it in your room, your office, your desk, wherever, you are subliminally suggesting to your brain that a mess makes no difference. Except, when you do start decluttering physical spaces, the new availability of open space refreshes your mind to the ide of eliminating excesses. While it may be excruciating to make tidying up a habit, make little steps in this direction every day, and you shall see the benefits for yourself. I know I did. Japanese author and organizational consultant Marie Kondo say it the best:
The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine… a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear.
3. Experience the power of ‘Letting Go’
Our lifetimes are finite, and in the time that we live, we experience so much of the positives and the negatives. While it is easier to deal with happier things, it’s quite a task to make sense of all of the negatives that come our way. Take the time to acknowledge why these things take so much space in your mind. While emotions might be difficult to let go off, they make space for more confidence, less stress, more happiness, fewer anxieties, and a generally better sense of wellbeing. As Wall Street bestselling author Bryan H McGill puts it,
Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.
4. Depend a little lesser on multitasking
Our workaholic or similar lifestyles often make us take pride in those activities which might not be the best for us in any case. Multitasking is one such activity that does pretty serious damage, especially when it’s dark side is not addressed for prolonged periods of time. Multitasking employs a special kind of stress on your short-term memory, and eventually reduces your ability to actually juggle tasks, and eventually leads to cluttering again. While no one suggests that you totally give up on multitasking, completing one task at a time increases your efficiency and also makes you more flexible towards doing more cognitively. And since we are on this topic, Helena Bonham Carter eloquently reminds us that:
Multitasking? I can’t even do two things at once. I can’t even do one thing at once.
5. Be firm while dealing with your distractions
Most of us would have been the best versions of our own selves if we only knew how to straight up cut away from all of the distractions that clutter our minds. If we were to actually complete task #1 on this list, our ‘priority-driven’ agendas would often be bogged down with a bunch of distractions. The thing about distractions is that they can seem urgent and important at the moment, but if they really aren’t, all they are doing is hampering your priorities. Learn to keep your phone away and on silent, learn to disconnect from social media, if not the internet in its entirety, to get your work done. As ace golfer Tom Kite puts it,
You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.
There are a few more things that can be added to this list, but the essence of this article lies in applying small, simple changes, in their barest forms, to our everyday lives, and convert them into habits.
Leave a comment if you wish to share your own experience of how you get rid of the clutter, and what the impact of better habitual practices has been.