Just the word “organize” is stressful because it makes me immediately think of all the piles of things that are waiting for me to organize them. And try as I want to, every new day brings in more and more piles of additional emails, additional documents, additional letters, additional phone calls, etc.. all of which just make my existing piles grow higher and higher. It feels like there is never enough time to catch up and really get organized.
We talk a lot about the need to organize all the stuff in our lives, but we don’t often talk about the need for us to organize our thoughts.
My brain goes a million miles an hour most days just trying to multi-task and trying to remember to write down everything I need to get done as I find out about it because heaven knows I will forget the thought in a minute if I don’t. With my brain going full time just trying to keep up with what is happening right now, in this minute, I don’t really have any free time to step away from the “to do” lists and just focus on all those other thoughts that come are floating around in my head. For example the grand ideas that hit me, or the “I would really love to” ideas that are in there, or the analysis of the “why” behind what I want to do or accomplish in the future. I feel like too often those big picture thoughts get pushed aside because I am so busy just processing the to-do thoughts that occupy my entire day if I let them.
I think all of us could probably spend a little more time decluttering our thoughts and organizing our thoughts so we can take better charge of how we spend our time. Here’s an exercise to try:
Start by stepping away from your computer and the television and your cell phone. Find a place where you can completely remove all distractions and it can be completely silent. You’ll need a pen and a pack of sticky notes with you in the room and it is best to sit or stand in front of a wall where you can hang the notes once you’ve written on them. Then take a deep breath and force yourself to set aside every thought of any to-do items or lists. For this to work you’ve got to take all those types of thoughts and excuse them entirely from your mind just for the duration of the session. Mentally ask those thoughts to kindly wait in the next room until you are finished with your session.
Once you’ve pushed all those thoughts out you can begin by seeing what thoughts are still left inside your mind. What ideas are bouncing around in your head? What “I would really love to” thoughts are in there? Take the post-it notes in front of you and start writing down every thought you have left in your head and stick them to the wall in front of you. Once you have done that step back and look at all the things you’ve just posted on the wall. Then decide which of the thoughts you want to throw away and remove them from the wall. You should be left with all your thoughts worth keeping. Move the remaining post-its around to prioritize them in order of most important to the least important and spend a few minutes just staring at it, letting your mind take it all in. See what new thoughts you have once the exercise is complete…
“Clutter isn’t just in your home, attic, garage or office. Clutter is also in your mind, and distracts you from the amazing things you are meant to do.’ – Katrina Mayer
Have a great day!
~Amy Rees Anderson