Have you ever been working on a task when your brain thinks of something you forgot, leading you to another project? Then you find yourself stuck with several half-finished projects that you can’t check off of your mental to-do list. When your brain is filled with clutter, it can be hard to focus on simple tasks. Here are some tips for freeing up your mind and staying productive.
Put it on Paper
When you feel overwhelmed with thoughts, tasks and information, writing them all down can help you visualize the bigger picture. Take some time each evening to purge everything that’s been on your mind. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling errors, and try to continuously write in the time you’ve allotted for this activity.
Once you’ve gotten all of your thoughts out, take some time to review them and create a to-do list for the following day. Prioritize tasks for yourself and delegate others when you can. Also, put important dates and notes into a day planner that you can reference often. Having your journal and planner as a back-up will keep your brain free of that clutter.
Manage Your Time
It may feel productive to multitask; however, the brain can’t actually handle it. In “Brain Rules” by John Medina, the author notes that an individuals who are interrupted or switch between tasks take 50% longer to complete a task and could potentially make up to 50% more errors. This is because the brain is wired to do one thing at a time.
Try designating a specific amount of time that you’re going to spend on each task. Don’t answer emails or check your phone during this time, and push out any thoughts about the other items on your list. Once you’re done with the task at hand, move on to the next thing. It takes time to perfect this strategy but it will free your brain of the clutter that comes with multitasking.
Avoid Information Overload
The brain gathers information through a variety of mediums that seem like a normal part of the day. But this information causes overstimulates and becomes clutter.
Do your best to limit your screen time during the day and choose a set time to scroll through social media instead of picking up your phone all day long. Once you don’t have a constant stream of other people’s opinions and ideas coming in, you will find that your own flow much easier.
Do Something For Yourself Every Day
That doesn’t mean sitting down for a Netflix binge or listening to several episodes of a new podcast that was recommended to you. Remember, you’re avoiding information overload by being mindful of screen time.
Instead, engage your body in a form of exercise that you enjoy, tend to your backyard garden or participate in a creative activity such as painting. During this time, put your phone away so you can truly focus on the task at hand and give you a brain a break from the daily grind.