Declutter your mind
Got a lot on your mind at the moment? Even with the best of planners, calendars, to-do lists and journals, you may often feel like your mind is swimming with more tasks than you can cope with.
Worse still, you may be in a constant state of stress because you're worried that you'll forget some of them, especially when ideas come to you while you're in the shower or driving and you can't write them down.
If this sounds like you, it might be time to do some Mind Decluttering.
Most of our stress comes from the fact that things are swirling around in our heads and we don't know what to do about them. And often the biggest stress comes from not knowing where to begin.
When you declutter your mind, you take everything out of the swirling storm in your head and put it onto paper. Then you can deal with each task as it should be dealt with; you can prioritise, you can delegate and best of all, you can sleep more easily at night.
Here are the steps to free up your mind space so that you can focus on the fun:
Print out the first page of your Mind Decluttering Kit. Then take a pen and, in no particular order, write down every single task that's on your mind. And I mean everything. From 'book dental appointments' to 'learn Spanish', from 'polish shoes' to 'renovate the house'.
Ideas of things to include are tasks related to:
Family and relationships eg: plan Milly's party, call Aunty Mary
House eg: clean the oven, plan bathroom renovation
Garden / garage eg: mow the lawn, get quotes for re-roofing garage
Work eg: get email Inbox to zero, buy a new desk chair
Personal eg: review goals
Community eg: volunteer for tuck shop
Other eg: sort all digital photos
Long term eg: lifelong goals
Done? Mind empty? Hopefully you're feeling less stressed already because you don't have to keep trying to remember these things anymore. You've captured them on paper and you're going to do something about each and every one.
At this point, you might also want to walk around your house and add other tasks that you might find lying around. Look for scribbled notes and items in your bag, on your bedside table, in the car, on your desk and in your in-tray if your in-tray is piling up and not getting done and add these to your list also.
Next, we start to take action.
2. DO THE QUICK ONES
Before you even think about trying to organise or categorise your tasks, scan through your list for things that you can do right now and quickly - within a few minutes. Often, they've been on your mind for ages, so just do them now, like ripping off a band-aid.
Things like: write that quick thank you card to a friend, call to book that appointment, superglue that toy back together. Do as many of those as you can and tick them off as you go.
3. ADD THE TIME-RELEVANT ONES TO YOUR PLANNER
Next, look for the tasks that have to be done on a certain day or at a certain time. For instance, if you want to call a friend on their birthday, add that as a task in the tasks section of your planner on that day. If you want to try a new gym class that happens on a Tuesday at 10 am, write that in the appointments section of your planner on that day. Then tick them off your list.
4. DELEGATE THE ONES YOU CAN TO OTHERS
Now look at which tasks you really need to delegate. Perhaps you need to buy a bottle of wine as a gift for someone - text your husband to buy it on the way home from work this afternoon. Or you need to think about a gift for your niece - ask your daughter to think of something and let you know. Delegate everything you can and then tick those tasks off too.
5. IDENTIFY WHICH TASKS ARE DREAMS FOR NOW
If you've always dreamt about driving around Australia in a camper van, but have no plans to do it any time soon, or even begin researching it, for now, you just need to record it for another day.
Flip to the notes section of your planner, write a heading that reflects these sorts of tasks - something like "Dreams" or "One Day..." - and list all those things that you would like to do but you don't want to think about starting for the moment. You may never get around to them but they're no longer taking up valuable brain space. They're there to look at every now and then and perhaps one day you'll pluck one from the list and make it happen!
6. WRITE THE ONE- OR TWO-STEP TASKS INTO YOUR PLANNER
For those tasks that take longer than a few minutes but only require a couple of steps - such as clean the windows - write them into your planner as tasks on the days you think you can get them done. If you don't manage to achieve it on that day, you can always then write it down for another day, but you don't have to use your brain to remember it because it's there in your planner to remind you.
6. BEGIN A PROJECT PLAN FOR LARGER TASKS
For those tasks that require lots of steps, you may want to think about writing a project plan for them. Print out the second page of your Mind Decluttering Kit which is the My Project Planner.
Fill it out with all the information you need to get the project done. Make sure you write the tasks in your planner as well so that you keep on track and don't forget about the project altogether.
And that should be it! All those things that were on your mind and causing you stress are now being taken care of, so your brain should now be free to be creative for a change, rather than a swirling to-do list.
And remember - you can always go to the Printable Library any time to download it again.
Happy mind decluttering!