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5 Routines To Clear Mental Clutter

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https://www.fastcompany.com/3038455/5-routines-to-clear-mental-clutter

fastcompany.com

5 Routines To Clear Mental Clutter
That smartphone in your pocket? It's nearly doubling the amount of time you spend working. A 2013 survey by the Center for Creative Leadership found that the typical smartphone-carrying professional interacts with work an average of 72 hours a week. No wonder we're all so stressed out.

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Asking If This Is Necessary

When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself if what you have to do is necessary. Depending on the answer reschedule, drop it or continue.

Keep in mind what’s the most important thing to ge...

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Time For Unconscious Thought

When you get away from work, you clear mental clutter and initiate unconscious thought. Delaying decisions until you’ve had time to simmer brings better results and lessens your sense of being o...

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Visualizing The Future

For those overwhelmed with worry about the future, create a routine of visualization. After taking a few deep breaths to clear your mind, envision the answer to the following questions:

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Learning Lessons Analysis

Lesson learned analysis is a process used to learn from the past and improve in the future. It helps clear out regret from past events.

Do that by asking yourself these three qu...

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Deep Breathing

Use the STOP acronym to remember the process. Stop what you’re doing. Take a breath. Observe what’s going on around you. Proceed. Awareness brings more intentionality and exercises your attentio...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Daily interruptions

On average, we experience an interruption every 8 minutes or about 7 or 8 per hour. In an 8t-hour day, that is about 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes about 5 minutes, so that...

Myth of multitasking

We’re not actually multitasking; rather, we are switching rapidly between different activities.

Better concentration makes life easier and less stressful and we will be more productive. Practice concentration by finding things to do that specifically engage you for a period of time to the exclusion of everything else.

The ‘five more’ rule

... for learning to concentrate better:

Whenever you feel like quitting – just do five more – five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages – which will extend your focus. 

The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration.

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On Mental Clutter

Setting clear boundaries between personal and work lives is key to maintaining flow and good mental health. The alternative creates mental clutter, a difficulty to think straight and focus due t...

Set Boundaries

Set clear boundaries regarding conversation topics at home and work—and stick to them. Talking about work at home, or about home at work should be avoided.

Of course, we can share stories of work with family and home life with colleagues, but don’t let these be the only conversations; open up, branch out and let other conversations be born in those spaces.

Cleanse Through Writing

Keep a journal for both work and home where you vent frustrations in order to maintain clear boundaries. By externalizing those feelings, your mental health improves and you are less likely to be overwhelmed.

We enrich our lives when we cleanse our mental spaces. We also open space for more activity, sharper thoughts and creativity.

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An Unbalanced Life

We live in a culture where work demands our complete allegiance. At the same time, it can be extremely enriching. You feel challenged by your work, you're attached to it, you're learning new things...

Redefine Success

Reconsider how you define success. Workaholics are always aiming to get ahead. But you also need to draw a boundary line that shows respect for your family life, and your physical and spiritual well-being.

Refocus Your Attention

After you have redefined success, consider how you want to invest your time and energy. 

There will always be more work to be done, but make a choice to spend your time elsewhere: with family, friends, or in your community. And when you spend time with your family or friends, do so with undivided attention.

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Signs of Stress

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Chest pains
  • Stomach ache
  • Hair loss
  • Eyelid twitching
  • Acne
  • Back pain

How to Manage Stress at Work

  • Take a deep breath. Slow, deep breaths activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which calms you down.
  • Don’t dwell on scary thoughts without any productive decisions.
  • Give yourself a break. Accept your negative emotions.
  • Exercise. Research suggests many of the benefits of exercise come in the first 20 minutes.

  • Reach out. In-person interactions cause your body to produce a bunch of hormones that counteract the “flight or flight” response.

  • Maintain a balanced lifestyle. 

  • Meditate.

  • Take notes of what tends to stress you out 

    so you can better control your reaction.
  • Set the right expectations. Treat stress like an inevitable part of your life. You’re not trying to erase stress, you’re simply trying to cope with it.

The Flow State

Flow is the mental state where we are so immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity that we lose sense of space and time...

Requirements To Enter Flow

To enter flow, you need appropriated self-control, environmental conditions, skills, task and rewards. Besides that, you must know what you’re doing, be able to see whether or not you’re doing it well, and be pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.

The last point is especially important, it's mastery combined with challenge that brings flow. Too much challenge and we get overcome with anxiety. Not enough, and our brain loses focus and looks for other stimuli.

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi

"In the flow-like state, we exercise control over the contents of our consciousness rather than allowing ourselves to be passively determined by external forces."

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Frequency of breath

Even though we have been breathing for all our lives, we can still learn a lot about this most basic instinct.

Quick, shallow, and unfocused breathing may contribute to anxiety, depression, ...

Breathwork

Breathwork is not the same as mindfulness. Mindfulness involves passive observation of the breath, whereas breathwork requires you to actively change the way you breathe.

Breathwork includes ensuring you breath with your diaphragm, rather than the movement of your chest. It will fill your lungs with more air while also slowing the pace of your breathing.

Speed ramp to relaxation

Right breathing can have a profound effect on calming the mind quickly and can act as a speed ramp into the meditation practice by getting you to that place of no-thought.

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Listen to Learn, Not to Be Polite

Listen from a place of curiosity, not generosity. True dialogue does not happen when we pretend to listen, and it certainly cannot happen if we are not listening at all.

If you ev...

Quiet Your Agenda

Really listen to what someone else is trying to say.

We need information that is disconfirming, not confirming.

Ask More Questions

Ask more questions than you give answers.

When you ask questions, you create a safe space for other people to give you an unvarnished truth.

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Addiction to information

Addiction to information, to the infinite and immediately available mental stimulation the internet offers in the form of information is real and is a perfect outlet for procrastination...

Neuroplasticity

... is how the brain changes (for better or worse) in response to repeated experience: the things we do often we become stronger at, and what we don't use fades away.

Learn yourself out of procrastination

  • Accept that you are going to procrastinate sometimes
  • Disconnect from your smartphone. Otherwise, it will demand your attention subconsciously 
  • Be mindful with your emotions when you catch yourself procrastinating
  • Focus on one thing at a time, to avoid feeling overwhelmed
  • Take breaks
  • Celebrate your accomplishments.

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Why food

Negative emotions may lead to a feeling of emptiness or an emotional void. 

Food is believed to be a way to fill that void and create a false feeling of “

Emotional vs. true hunger

Physical hunger

  • It develops slowly over time.
  • You desire a variety of food groups.
  • You feel the sensation of fullness and take it as a cue to stop eating.
  • You have no negative feelings about eating.

Emotional hunger

  • It comes about suddenly or abruptly.
  • You crave only certain foods.
  • You may binge on food and not feel a sensation of fullness.
  • You feel guilt or shame about eating.

Emotional hunger isn’t easily quelled

While filling up could work in the moment, eating because of negative emotions often leaves people feeling more upset than before.

This cycle typically doesn’t end until a person addresses emotional needs head-on.

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Be Intentional

The right metric for human performance is effectiveness, not efficiency.

Intentionally decide on the task at hand; intentionally perfect the conditions for working on that task; intentionally...

Recognize Your Decision Points

If we act on autopilot, unaware of the time and our surroundings, we are likely to gravitate to tasks that are easy or urgent.

Identify decision moments, and pause and reflect on your true priorities.

Manage Your Mental Energy

For peak productivity, we must tackle our work when we have the mental energy for it. 

Identify your two best mental hours, and intentionally schedule your important work during that time.

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