Having a cluttered mind can “weigh you down” mentally. Unfinished to-do lists, a disorganized desk, projects you have wanted to start for months, things waiting to be put away. These are all things that weigh on your mind and drag you down. Here are some tips for how to clear your mind and let go of what weighs you down.
But why does this even matter?
All of the things running around in your mind that you “want” to do equal what I call mental weight. Mental weight is hard to notice because it doesn’t physically show itself like 10 extra pounds gained over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mental weight is mostly silent, but you can feel it if you know what to look for.
An example of mental weight
Have you ever put off a project for months (or even years) because you thought it was going to be terribly hard and time-consuming, only to realize it wasn’t that bad after you actually started it? In fact, you felt like a huge weight was lifted off your back and were so happy that the project was done?
That’s mental weight. Even if you didn’t think about it consciously or fret over it each day, that project was hanging around in your head weighing you down.
It builds and builds
Each and every project you haven’t started, box you haven’t put away or appointment you haven’t scheduled adds to your personal mental weight. Eventually you end up with all of these things running around in the back of your mind, just waiting for a trigger to set them off and remind you of these things you want to do.
How to clear your mind
So how do you get rid of all this mental weight? Here are five tips for how to clear your mind and let go of what’s weighing you down.
1. Dump it all out
You need to get everything out of your head and put it all on paper. Take some time to write down everything you want to do that’s hanging over your head. I mean EVERYTHING. Get it all out there so you can look at it, do a total brain dump.
2. Categorize it
Now you need to categorize everything on your list into 3 buckets:
- DIY (Something I can easily do myself)
- Hire (Something I need to hire someone else to do)
- Let go (I wanted to do this at some point, but now it doesn’t really matter)
Putting things in your Let Go bucket might be hard, but it’s how to clear your mind and release mental weight. You can’t let anything in this bucket continue to weigh you down. Circumstances have changed and whatever you wanted to do in the past no longer matters. Focus on the future, make a commitment to letting go and move on.
3. Prioritize it
Now you have to make some decisions. Look at what you have written down and ask yourself, what is the ONE THING that is weighing me down the most? Write that one thing down on a separate sheet of paper and put the rest away for later.
4. Take one small action
Your one small action is this. Commit just 10 minutes to working on the ONE THING on your list. It’s only 10 minutes! Block it out on your calendar if you need to and make sure you commit to a focused, undistracted 10 minutes where you only work on this one thing.
It’s remarkable how much better you’ll feel after a mental dump, some prioritization and starting on ONE THING. The mental weight will be lifted and will be replaced with the uplifting feeling of progress and momentum.
5. Repeat. Then repeat again.
Momentum is king here, so you want to hold onto it. After getting started on your one thing, you need to keep working on it until it’s finished. Commit the time you need to work on this project and get it off your “to-do” list. This could be another 10 focused minutes each day, or longer if you have the time.
The key is to focus on small, consistent actions to keep chipping away and making progress. As long as you are making progress towards your goal, the mental weight will be lifted. Instead of focusing on what’s weighing you down, your mind will be clear and happy with the progress you are making.
Once you finish your ONE THING, then you’ll want to repeat steps 3-5 again on a new item. Asses your priorities, pick your next item and focus on one thing only. Take small consistent action on that item until it’s complete.
Bonus tips for how to clear your mind
- Add new items to your “brain dump” list whenever they come up to get them out of your head.
- Keep your “brain dump” list accessible but put away. You don’t want that list staring you in the face and weighing you down.
- Write down your ONE THING and keep it visible. Tell others about it to hold yourself accountable.
- Utilize your calendar (or other system) to block out your small chunks of time.
- To maximize focus while working on your ONE THING, turn off all notifications. Put your phone on do not disturb, close email, turn off the TV, etc.
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What mental weight do you want to lose?
So, what ONE THING are you going to start working on TODAY? Comment below and tell us what is weighing you down. If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful please be sure to share it! Tag us in your achievement posts on Instagram @realsimplegood and #TheRSGLife. We can’t wait to see what you are working on!
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