From Chaos to Clarity: 5 Ways to DeClutter Your Mind
Texts, emails, instant messages, news feeds— the flow of information is constant. Mind clutter is something we all face in today’s info-saturated world.
So, how do we filter the information-flow and devote our attention to what helps us reach our goals without getting distracted by what drains our energy?
Technology can no doubt make communication incredibly convenient, but in order to truly take advantages of it (rather than letting it cloud our minds), we’ve got to set boundaries. We’ve got to embrace practices that help us choose what to steer clear of (like drama-laden Facebook posts and doom and gloom news flashes) and what to focus our attention on (like nuggets of daily inspiration and meetings with a star client).
These 5 simple steps can get us started on the right track:
1) Focus on a Goal
Ask yourself what you really want. Your goals are a product of your wants. Rather than limiting your goals to what you think is possible, consider this your time to fantasize and imagine. Ask yourself what your goals would be if you had no limits. If you catch yourself thinking it’s impossible, ask yourself where the belief that it’s impossible came from. What would it feel like to believe your want is a possibility? Keep focusing on that feeling, and set your goals based on your wants.
We as humans have incredible creative potential. Look around you. Everything that exists was once an idea, which turned to a goal: from skyscrapers to medical inventions to human relationships and airplanes that fly; they all started with a thought, a goal, and an intention. So, let yourself imagine!
Now ask yourself if you’re willing to commit to your goals. Don’t worry about each individual action step yet (that will come later). The most important first step is to ask yourself if you’re willing to commit your thoughts, heart, soul and intentions to what you want.
2) Prioritize Your Activities
Time-management books and blogs seem to be everywhere. The silly thing is, you can’t actually manage time! We all have the same amount of time. What we can do is choose how we use time. We choose how we use it by managing our activities. How do we manage our activities? By first getting clear on what’s an important priority and what’s not.
There’s also a lot of information circulating the business world on multi-tasking. But the problem is, if you split your focus, you can’t accomplish any one task to your best ability. This means we’ve got to slow down on the “do everything” mindset (we’ll talk about that next).
First, think of this multi-tasking example: you’re driving to work, chatting on your cell, checking your GPS and applying make-up—all at the same time! (How many hands, eyes and ears do you need for that?!) Outward instances of multi-tasking like this are direct reflections of the inward chatter flooding our minds.
Now, take this situation and think of which “task” is actually most important. Most likely, it’s looking at your GPS to get to your destination safely (you can save the conversation and apply that lip gloss in 10 quick seconds when you park!). Yet so often, we try to do five things at once and compromise the quality of our actions as a result.
We erroneously believe that by cramming more actions on top of others that we’re getting more done and better results. This is an illusion. Rather than always being on the go, we need to give our mind rest in order to find clarity and balance, which leads to the next action point:
3) Slow Down the “Do Everything” Mindset
I love this quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “There is more to life than increasing speed.”
How true is that?! Yet too often our world places importance on growth and speed rather than balance and quality. This is partly due to advances in technology that have sped up our lives: low priority tasks now compete with what’s truly important, and it’s up to us to choose what we’ll give our energy to.
The “do everything” mindset actually creates a panic response in our minds and bodies. The more we try to do, the more that sense of panic increases. This causes us to feel stressed and behind on what we need to get done. By stepping back and prioritizing (as mentioned in the last step), we give ourselves permission to say “yes” to activities that serve us and “no” to those that don’t.
This permission creates empowerment. Empowerment increases our self-confidence, which in turn helps us feel more balanced, satisfied and better able to achieve our goals.
4) Stop Ranking Yourself
Ranking yourself basically means playing an internal comparison game: we’ve all done it at some point. How many times have you judged whether you’re smart, beautiful, successful or compared to your colleagues, peers, friends and family? Think about it: does comparing yourself in this way make you feel more empowered, calm and balanced, or does it create more stress, pressure and insecurity in your mind? Generally, ranking and comparing ourselves ups the stress level.
In the search for acceptance and validation, it’s easy to compare ourselves without even realizing it. As a result, most of us come to the idea that we’re about average. But the truth is, we are each unique individuals. Considering how different we each are, it seems crazy to compare ourselves! Your worth cannot be measured by comparing yourself to ANYONE. You are precisely, priceless. When we realize our individual, intrinsic worth, we give ourselves permission to define our own goals.
5) Mind-Quieting and Gratitude Practices
Now that we know the importance of goal-focusing, prioritizing, slowing down and stopping the comparisons, how do we actually start doing it? Mind-chatter can become a habit. These practices are especially helpful at breaking that habit and de-cluttering your mental space:
- Meditation. I know, we hear this all the time, and you may think, “if only I had the time to meditate…” But, truth be told, it’s way easier than it seems! Studies reveal that even just a few minutes of meditation each day can calms stress, boost our mood and even decrease our physical pain! Try taking 5 minutes each morning or before you go to bed to close your eyes, focus on your breath, and repeat a positive affirmation in your mind.
- Listen to your inner wisdom. When you wake every morning, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for, set an intention for your day. Then, ask your higher mind and inner wisdom for guidance. Listen for subtle thoughts and direction throughout the day.
- Nature time! Stepping away from technology and getting exercise outdoors (even for a 10 minute lunch-break) can dramatically boost our mood, clear our mind and help us return to work revitalized and focused. Time-pressed? Try enjoying your lunch outside on a park bench or office courtyard. A little fresh air and sunshine goes a long way.
- Practice gratitude. This was one of the best ideas I got from my mentor, Bob Proctor. Keep a journal by your bed and jot down 10 things you’re grateful for every morning. Do this first thing, when you awake. Then, take a moment to really feel each thing you’ve written down. This is a powerful way to set your mindset mood for each day!
These tools are incredibly helpful and powerful if you commit to practicing them daily. Yet, there’s so much more to learn! If you’re ready to take the next leap in refining and implementing these practices in your daily life, you can learn by joining me at THRIVE on September 7-8, 2018 in Chicago. Mention MARY and receive 10% off ticket price. Visit www.thrive.com.