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5 Ways to De-clutter Your Mind and Regain Your Focus

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

5 Ways to De-clutter Your Mind and Regain Your Focus

5 Ways to De-clutter Your Mind and Regain Your Focus

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-ways-to-declutter-your-mind-and-regain-your-focus

themuse.com

5

Key Ideas

Think About It

Acting without first reflecting can make things worse. Regularly reviewing how you spend your time will give you insight into how you got to your present state, how to move forward strategically, and how you work best in general.

Make time for quiet reflection or journaling. Think about or write what stresses you, why something isn’t working, or when during the day you’re most productive. 

Manage Your Inbox

Knowing your inbox isn’t overflowing can save you a lot of mental stress, which helps you focus on more important tasks. You can reduce your message by:

  • Unsubscribe from promotional and notification emails.
  • Use filters to sort nonessential email into specified sections of your inbox, so they don’t show up every time you log in.
  • Use programs to schedule emails and send reminders, so you can deal with emails on your own time. 

Have a “Mental Junk Drawer”

Dump your ideas, notes, lists, and saved articles that don’t have another home into a digital document. This clears some mental space—without adding papers and notebooks to your actual junk drawer.

Automate

To-do lists tend to accumulate not so important tasks. Try to outsource and automate those you can.

Good automation lets you forget the task. So instead of interrupting the flow of your workday with little tasks, you can concentrate on the high-impact stuff that requires your full focus and attention.

Use Lists

  • Lists help you compartmentalize your mental clutter.
  • Writing something on a to-do list frees up mental space, as you won’t have to remember it.
  • Having your responsibilities organized in one place, you can better choose what to do.
  • Make a priority list in addition to your to-do list with your top three priorities to ensure you’re progressing on what matters.
  • Create a list to record your accomplishments during the day so they can boost your motivation when you’re feeling down.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Leonardo da Vinci

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Leonardo da Vinci
The 4 laws of simplicity

... you can use on any area of your life, and in fact on your life as a whole:

  • Collect everything in one place.
  • Choose the essential, the things most important to you.
  • Eliminate the rest. Don't get sentimental.
  • Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.
Confucius
Confucius

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Hans Hofmann
Remove decorations

... that no longer inspire you. Just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.

Your life has moved on—maybe it’s time for the decoration to do the same. Keeping just the items that mean the most to you will help them to shine.

Reject the convenience fallacy

There are certain places in our homes we tend to leave items out for convenience. By leaving these things out, we think we’re saving time and simplifying our lives. That’s the convenience fallacy. 

W might save a couple of seconds, but the other 99.9 percent of the time, those items just sit there creating a visual distraction. 

11 more ideas

Work in chunks

Our brain focuses best in short spurts, so dedicating 25 minutes to one activity, taking a five-minute break, and then resuming that activity or switching to another activity for another 25 minu...

Set Priorities

List your top priorities and ensure that your goals, actions and decisions reflect them. Then, create an action plan to meet those set goals and divide your time to focus on each item...

Keep a Journal

Journaling eliminates intrusive thoughts about negative events and improves working memory. This leads to more energy for other mental activities, better stress, anxiety, and depression management.

Learn To Let Go

Eliminating unnecessary thoughts, fears and concerns helps to reduce stress, boost self-esteem and free up mental space.

Let go of all the negative thoughts and emotions that make you feel bogged down. Monitor your thoughts regularly and try to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.

7 more ideas

Organize your office
Organize your office
  • Start with a purge to create an office that is free of clutter.
  • Create a catch-it space for incoming junk to sort through.
  • Keep your desktop clear of c...

Mindfulness is a great exercise

... for learning to accept how we feel and break the habit of worry.

Notice little fragments of worry here and there. Notice yourself being pulled by years of habit to start thinking a...

Worry and bad problem-solving

Worry is an attempt to mentally problem-solve something that either isn’t really a problem or isn’t a problem that’s solvable.

And while problem solving is typically helpful in our lives, worry is just a waste of time and energy if we know it can’t actually produce any results.

Worry is like junk food

Just like the body craves calories, the mind craves control. In fact, we can fool our minds into thinking we’re actually solving a problem by running it over and over and over again in our minds. And to make things worse, like junk food, worry also happens to be constantly available, dirt cheap, and instantaneous.

6 more ideas

Increase your focus by setting goals

Whenever you have issues focusing, try setting goals. The most important tip anybody could give you at this point is that the smaller the goal, the better the result. Therefore, try focusing on one...

Organize your tasks for a better focus

Organizing your tasks according to their difficulty level has only positive effects on your work. You will not only keep track of what has been done and what remains to be done, but you will also make sure that both difficult and easy tasks are being performed.

Scheduling improves your focus

Carefully scheduling your daily program enables you to reach a better focus. As you plan your day, you should take care of dividing your tasks according to the available time. This way you will know from the beginning of the day what and when needs to be done, which will reduce considerably the time to make decisions, which is one of the main distractions when thinking to start a new task. Furthermore, including breaks in your schedule is almost essential, as these allow you to  recharge your batteries and, therefore, work more efficiently afterwards.

2 more ideas

Take a photo

...to see clutter with fresh eyes.

A photograph helps us to see a space anew: It changes our perspective and gives us a measure of detachment that can enable us to decide what items should...

Abandon a project

Unfinished projects contribute to clutter because we often leave them out in the open as a reminder to finish them. Push yourself to complete an unfinished project — or just call an end to it. 

The easiest way to complete a project is to abandon it and clear it away.

Move your clutter out of context

When we see objects settled into a particular place over time, it becomes hard to imagine where else they might go. So put your clutter into a new context. 

Once you detach things from their settled places, it’s much easier to decide what to do with them.

2 more ideas

Reduce the stress of clutter
  • Apply constraints and stick to them: to tabs open in your browser, notebooks, magazines etc.
  • Use small storage spaces: Less room means less room for c...
Find places that inspire you

You might not be in a position to choose your workspace, but there are quick fixes: look for a spot with natural light from a window or skylight, take a walk outside when you feel stuck, or simply explore a new location. 

A new environment can quite literally lead to new ideas.

Task association

It's when your brain knows that when you’re in a certain place, you’re taking a certain action.

Take advantage of the way different locations affect you. Our brains love habits, and if we can associate certain qualities with different places, it can help us get into a better working flow. 

2 more ideas

The junk drawer
The junk drawer

The "junk drawer" has become a universally acknowledged space where you store all the things that doesn't seem to have a place. It is not always a drawer - it could be a room,...

Discard before organizing

Don't think how you will organise items if you're still considering what to keep. You can only assess available storage space when you're done decluttering.

Sort and throw away first before you put back the stuff you've been collecting in your junk drawer.

Tidy by category, not location

Gather all the items of one category in one spot. You can only decide what to keep and what to discard if you know what you have and how much you have.

Categorization is important in the process of decluttering. The five main categories are clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous, mementos. Gather and assess all like items at the same time. If you have two junk drawers, tackle the objects in both spaces at the same time.

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