Do you remember the 1992 song by En Vogue, Free Your Mind? There’s a line in the song:
“Free your mind, and the rest will follow.”
That hit song was definitely not about time management, but that line can certainly be applied.
My mantra that I preach is “Time management is all about mind management.” Your brain decides how it’s going to use every single second of every single minute of every single day. Therefore, the more you care for your brain and prime it for efficiency, the better decisions you’ll make about how you use your time.
Sometimes I joke with clients that their goal is to have an empty head. I don’t mean a brainless head. What I mean is that you empty your head of thoughts and information that can slow down your brain’s processing ability.
If you’re scratching your head wondering how your body’s information storage and processing center could possibly slow down your thinking, let’s compare your brain’s operations to that of a computer. (If you’re a tech guru, please forgive this oversimplified analogy.)
When you’re shopping for a laptop, two important factors to examine are data storage and processing memory. Your data storage is measured in GB. This is how many videos, documents, songs, PowerPoint presentations, photos, spreadsheets, PDFs, and so on that your computer can store. As you approach maximum capacity, your laptop gets more and more sluggish.
Your processing memory is measured in RAM. The more RAM you have, the more programs you can run simultaneously. If you notice your computer slowing down during a Zoom call as you open up documents, screenshot software, accounting software, etc., that’s your RAM maxing out.
When your computer slows down, what do you do to improve its operations? You delete docs you no longer need. You close out programs that don’t truly need to be running, including those “invisible” processes in the background. (Not sure what those are? Open your computer’s Task Manager to see what’s running.) You can also run your Defrag program to better organize your computer’s hard drive.
Now think about your brain. What information do you try to keep up there that can slow down your brain’s processing?
The day’s schedule
Plans/steps to complete a project
Fretting over perfection
Worrying about forgetting things
Your brain sucks up RAM when it fears forgetting all of this information. So, make your brain more efficient by not storing this type of information. Free your mind.
Next week, we’ll talk about where you can store all of the information.
For the complete guide to improving your productivity through freeing your mind and other strategies, check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.