It is Sunday evening and tomorrow is the start of a new week. Are you feeling stressed at the thought of returning to work tomorrow, or on Tuesday if you are living in South Africa? Does it feel as if there are a million thoughts whizzing through your mind? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the masses of things you have to do, the things which are worrying you or all the deadlines looming? Do you feel lost and not knowing where to start? What you need is a Brain De-clutter.
The average person thinks about 70 000 thoughts a day. That is a lot of thinking and a lot of those thoughts are simply brain clutter. When we leave our mind unattended it tends to wander all over the place and get trapped in mazes, hamster wheels and sometimes dark places. It looses its focus and we become distracted.
It is for this reason that it is important to regularly do a brain de-clutter. Just as we need to reorganize our office, our house and our closets on a regular basis, we also need to organize our thoughts. Re-organizing your thoughts and your mind helps you to feel more in control and less overwhelmed. So, how do we do it? I mean, we can't just turn our brain's storage upside down and dump all the stuff out on the floor! Well, it is as easy as taking "NOTE".
NOTE is my acronym for my brain de-cluttering process.
N - take a pen and paper and note down all the things which are occupying your mind. What are the things worrying you? What are the things you are afraid of? What things are you avoiding and why? What are the most important things going through your mind? What ideas, plans or goals do you have? What things are not important but still crowding your mind? What are the most pressing things you have to deal with and what deadlines are looming? What things are irritating you and why? The magic of writing these things down lies in the freeing up of mind-space. When it is written down where you can see it, it no longer loops through your mind on a never ending reel.
O - Now it is time to organize these things into lists. I divide them into six categories : Work - Tasks & Deadlines, Daily, Goals/Ideas, Home, Family and Personal. Once they are all categorized I assign colours to them. Those things which are urgent, meaning they need taking care of asap, I mark red. The things which are important, but not so immediate I mark green and assign a date to them. Next I mark the daily grind must-do's blue and finally those things which are not urgent and not very important I mark with yellow.
T- Next I earmark the three top priorities. I connect them to a time frame and I write down a short plan of action to accomplish these three items by their deadline time. After establishing this I critically look at my lists and move or delete those items which are of no importance whatsoever.
E- Finally I start by executing my plans. Planning now goes over into action. As soon as a task is done, I mark it off as accomplished.
It is a good idea to set aside an hour one day a week to do some brain de-cluttering. It is an excellent way to diminish your stress levels and gain control over your life. It will help you to focus on the important things and also helps to get more things done more efficiently.