How to Declutter Your Mind In 7 Steps
“Stop giving other people the power to control your happiness, your mind, and your life. If you don't take control of yourself and your own life, someone else is bound to try.” ― Roy T. Bennett
As much as I agree with this quote, it is also quite easy to do exactly the opposite especially in times of uncertainty.
Let me explain with an example from my own life situation.
A couple of weeks ago, I struggled to make sense of how I felt about things.
Even though it has been sunny and I’ve been out a few times exercising, there was still something not quite right with my state of mind.
On one particular day, I took a break from doing some work and walked upstairs to our son’s bedroom to check up on them playing.
Our routine has been a work in progress during this unusual time and we find ourselves playing catch-up and trying to stay
sane cool in every way possible.
This has meant that our kids have had a bit more time to themselves than ever before and usually, they build lego models, etc.
This time around when I got to my son’s room, things were different. The room was in such an utter state, that I froze and could do nothing but stare.
Literally every corner of the room was filled with toys, to the extent that I could barely find a place to stand.
Our boys stared at me as I stared at them, and at that moment it dawned on me…
The overall state of that room was a metaphor for my state of my mind.
You see, the week before had been pretty stressful and I hadn’t spent enough time with myself to process it all.
I’d neglected some of my usual routines and I needed to go back to basics to figure out where things fell apart and begin the journey of decluttering my mind.
Have you felt like I’ve felt lately?
Like you’ve got so much that you’re thinking about and sometimes you just want silence to process your thoughts.
Below I share 7 steps that you can take to declutter your mind and enjoy more peace, productivity and progress in your life.
Before I jump into these points, it’s worth mentioning that this post is the third in a series of four posts this month on getting your house in order.
Getting your mind in order is by far the most important of these as it enables everything else to fall into place.
Catch up on the other posts below:
HOW TO DECLUTTER YOUR MIND
Below are 7 things you can start doing today to declutter your mind:
1. Say No More Often
I’ve been guilty of sometimes overcommitting myself to things, and not leaving enough margin for things to go wrong.
Inevitably things go wrong and I end up playing catch-up and this piles on pressure and sets my mind on overdrive.
To counter this, I’ve started saying NO more often.
Typically, I’m exposed to a lot of noise on WhatsApp groups, Email, and other Social Media platforms.
You probably have the same issue.
What I find is that it’s rare to get a message where someone is purely writing to say, hey, and check up on you.
I’m either being spammed with stuff or being asked to get involved with stuff.
So what I do now is that I ignore at least 50% of my emails and at least 80% of WhatApp messages.
I have also ejected myself from certain groups and I now only answer the phone to numbers I know.
In addition to this, I have turned off 90% of all notifications on my phone and I have a designated time to check social media and emails.
Together, these have worked wonders for my mind and I have a lot more clarity about important things to focus on.
2. Focus On Cleaner Spaces
Do you find that you’re able to work and think better if your environment is clean and accessible?
This is certainly the case for me. Not only am I able to think better, I also feel a lot more positive in cleaner spaces.
In addition, I feel a sense of progress especially when I can look around the house and see a collective effort to keep our home clean.
Yesterday, we spent about 5 hours decluttering my son’s bedroom – Sorting clothes and toys that they no longer use into bags for another family to use.
This was a pretty long process but one that brought the whole family together for a few hours.
Our current process at home is for everyone to clean their allotted spaces on Saturday mornings.
We have a cleaner who helps with a deep clean on Wednesdays, and then we manage to keep things tidy in between.
For example, kids now have to clear up all their toys before moving on to play with another group of toys or in the garden.
We’re also practicing a clear sink policy, where all dishes must be washed before going to bed.
This has helped a lot, especially with waking up with the right state of mind for our new morning routine.
3. Start Your Day Early
We’ve been waking up between 4.30a.m. and 5a.m. on weekdays, partly as a way of forcing us to go to bed earlier.
We’ve also been doing it as part of a 5 A.M. Club Challenge with our tribe of Dream Makers to keep each other accountable.
More here on Insta:
What I find with waking up early is that it gives me time to reflect, read and meditate, and pray.
This sets my mind up in the right frame for the day ahead.
I also feel a sense of accomplishment and actually tick important things off my list as I usually have specific things to work on at that time of the morning.
This removes some of the panic and pressure that I used to face when I’d wake up later than usual and feel like I’m not being as effective as I could be.
4. Decide On Your Priorities
A very neat way to keep your mind clear of noise is to hone in on your priorities each day.
What works for me is to focus on my DB3 – Daily Big 3. These are the 3 most important things that I must get done in a day.
These are usually work/business related, although sometimes, I have a DB3 for my personal life e.g. catching up on important admin.
To get started, you can either write these down on a small notepad daily or your phone’s note app.
Keep it to a maximum of 3 as that forces you to hone in on what matters.
5. Switch Off and Switch On
A pretty effective way to declutter your mind is to switch off most things and only switch on what matters most to you.
So for example, if I feel it is all getting too much, I switch off my phone and laptop and only switch on my iPad.
I use that device purely for fun as I have access to music, movies and creative tools and no access to social media and so on.
This is a liberating thing to do as it gives me a sense of ownership of my time and life activities.
It also allows me to get into a state of deep work, and I often do this with music playing in the background.
Here is one if you’re interested:
6. Seek Silence
I often seek complete silence usually when I want to take stock of my life or when I just want to better gather my thoughts by writing.
Writing is liberating for me as it gives me the opportunity to visibly see my thoughts in words and colour.
My preferred tool for this is the Apple Pencil, which I use for most note taking, writing and drawing these days.
In our current distraction prone world, 15 minutes of silence can seem like an hour if done properly.
When was the last time you had 15 minutes of complete silence to yourself?
If you currently don’t know what that feels like, take a break now and give it a go.
7. Focus On Meaningful Activities
Lately, I’ve been asking myself some pretty deep questions.
Questions that challenge what I’m letting occupy my mind and therefore my life’s energy.
Such questions as:
- Is my job currently giving me fulfillment?
- Am I doing work that is in complete alignment with my core life values?
- Is the practical reality of my life lining up with what I preach?
- Am I seeking and living the purpose for which I believe I’ve been called?
- How am I living a life of compassion daily?
- Is there a conflict between my life dreams and my core life values?
- How have I grown as a father, husband and son in the last year?
Although these questions might seem unconnected, what I’ve found on a personal level is that answers to each of these questions gives me laser focus on what matters.
The more I focus my life’s energy on what has meaning, the less I spend it on what doesn’t.
You’ll likely have important life questions that you’ve never brought yourself to answer.
Perhaps because you have not made the time or even because you can not bring yourself to face such questions.
It might even be because you’ve never considered such questions that will help you prioritise meaningful activities in your life.
If you’re in this position, you can start today after reading this post.
You could even begin by trying to answer the questions I’ve asked above.
These types of questions help to give your life more clarity, starting with helping you prioritise what your mind should be focused on.
The majority of life’s battles are a battle of the mind. It takes a great deal of self-awareness to understand and make this a priority in your life.
What I’ve learned on my journey so far is that this battle has no end per se.
However, if you actively take steps to declutter, protect and defend your mind, you’ll gradually begin to win the important battles of your life.
Spend some time after reading this post to reflect upon what practical things you need to do this week to declutter your mind.
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What practical steps could you take today to declutter your mind?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.