There is so much attention given these days to clutter. There are TV shows such as Hoarders or Clean Sweep. On the front of any woman’s magazine you will find an article about clearing clutter. And there are MANY websites and blogs whose focus is to help you clear your crap!
And we need it to be cleared. But as we work on our physical clutter, and start emptying some space in our physical life, we find that we have a lot more that needs to be dealt with. Not physical clutter that you can put your hands on and toss in a bag. That kind of clutter is easy.
I am speaking of the thoughts, habits, memories and burdens that you carry with you everywhere you go. This stuff is not only more difficult to get rid of, it can cause some serious damage to your mental health and quality of life, if you don’t get a handle on it.
Steps to help clear mental clutter
A brain dump- Get alone, if possible with a notepad and a pen. This works best if you actually use paper. I want you to start listing all the pressing things going through your mind. Everything from the dog needing to go to the vet, to the fingerprints on the windows to the brakes that need fixing to the husband who is not being very cooperative.
Determine what is important to you- Let’s face it. We can’t DO everything. We can’t BE everywhere. We have to make choices. Many times our mental clutter comes from not making the important choices about what is most important to you in your life. Here is a little exercise to help clarify your priorities for you. Will only take you about 60 seconds, DO IT!
Purging the not-so-important things- When you are clearing your closet, you have a box for things you no longer want, maybe they are trash or maybe they are Goodwill, but either way, those things are going out the door. For your mental clutter, we are going to do the same thing.
With a black marker, quickly again go back over your list. This time you are going to cross through anything that doesn’t match up to your priorities that you determined in the previous step. These are the things that while they may be important or good, they don’t match up with your current priorities. Marking it off gives you permission to LET IT GO!
Take 4 or 5 pieces of paper and write your top priorities across the top of each page- Go back through your list (after you have marked out the non-priority items) and begin to place the things from your list onto the appropriate page. These should be the things, activities and responsibilities that line up more with what is important to YOU, and not everyone else.
When you have completed this exercise, you should have 4 or 5 lists of undone things that are the most important things to you. Focus on these items. If other things come to mind, determine if they are a priority. If so, add them to a list. You can convert this list to a digital format if you’d like. I like using Google Tasks.
Is your mind full of clutter? Do you plan to do the exercises I have recommended here?