Last week I discussed how the brain’s operating speed can slow down when it gets bogged down with too much information it wants to keep available for recall. This week, let’s look at recommendations for where you can store that information for easy access. In other words, how can you declutter your mind?
Instead of memorizing all of your events, use a paper or digital calendar. Which one is better to use? That’s simple: the one you’ll add your appointments to and review at the end of each day to plan for the next one, and the one you’ll refer to throughout the day to see what, where and when your next commitment is.
Your plan for the day:
You’ve got a number of options to help you declutter your mind –
*your calendar, which means including on there “appointments” with yourself for completing your various tasks that comprise your plan
*a physical or digital document with your day’s schedule
*a task management software that populates your chosen tasks into your schedule
*a combo of your calendar and task list so you can choose what to work on between your calendar appointments.
Whether you utilize a digital or paper system, it’s helpful to have categories that can divide up your tasks by project or the type of brain power involved (e.g.: Sanchez Project, data input, crunching numbers, strategic planning, client prep, etc.). See the above “Your plan for the day” recommendations to incorporate your daily to do list into your day’s plan.
Not only are these disruptive, but they derail your focus when you try to remember all of these thoughts throughout the day. To combat this brain slow-down, keep your Random Thought Capture Tool handy. Your tool can be something “official” like a small notepad you always have with you or a note document on a device you always have at your side. You can also use any nearby resource to capture these random thoughts: sticky note, a napkin, email or text yourself, and so on.
Use your Random Thought Capture Tool to record your worries. At your chosen time later that day, address all the worries you’ve recorded. You’re not repressing your feelings; you’re scheduling them for a time when you won’t let these negative thoughts slow you down. (Yes, there’s a lot more to unpack here, but that’s for another time.)
Whether your mind is a steel trap or it used to be but is now a steel sieve, relieving your brain of low level recall information will free up space for better focus, concentration and high-level thinking. Declutter your mind for improved productivity!
For the complete guide to improving your productivity through decluttering your mind (and other strategies), check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.