I’m writing this from a ranch somewhere in the middle of Texas. I’m not kidding. After three fabulous days networking with my peeps at the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) conference in Fort Worth, I rented a car, drove a couple of hours due west and checked in to a dude ranch for a personal retreat. Alone.
This trip is long overdue. I’ve wanted to do something like this for quite a while. For although my home and physical spaces in my life are organized, my brain often feels like a cluttered mess of thoughts and ideas jostled together, competing for my attention. I needed to get away in order to organize my mind.
I’m not saying the only way to organize your brain is to check into the middle of nowhere. Ten years ago, when my kids were still at home, this would have been a pipe dream. Whether you have a couple of days or just a couple of minutes, the principle of taking some time to step back before the onslaught of daily activities is invaluable.
For many of us, our day begins with a deep dive that never lets up. Our “to do” lists have “to do” lists. We have so much to accomplish we randomly pick any task with little thought to order and the priorities at hand. Here are my suggestions to help organize your mind:
1. Start each day with a brief personal strategy meeting. Write (or type) the one thing that needs to get accomplished. If you have several items, break them down into individual steps.
2. Keep the list short. There’s nothing more discouraging than a never ending “to do” list!
3. Do your most brain intensive work at your peak alertness. In other words, never waste your most productive hours scrolling through your social media.
Once you’ve got a handle on your daily activities, schedule a block of time for an extended personal meeting. Perhaps once a week, a month or once a year. This is your opportunity to “empty your mind.” Although I’m typically paperless, I enjoy writing these thoughts in a large spiral bound notebook that I keep for just this purpose. I date each page and write down all my ideas and everything thing I want to accomplish. I then re-write them in priority order and assign realistic due dates. I have kept the same notebook for several years and I find it really satisfying to re-read my goals and see the gradual progress I’ve made.
There’s something powerful about writing out our dreams and goals. Personally, if I see it written down I’m more likely to act on it than if I had just kept the thought in the back of my mind.
So if you’re suffering from brain clutter, why not give this technique a 30 day trial? I’d love to hear your feedback!