3 Essential Steps to Clearing the Clutter in Your Head

04/24/2015 11:16 am ET | Updated Jun 24, 2015


Clutter. How do you define it? The drawer that needs to be cleaned out? The pile of shoes that hasn't been put away and is blocking the doorway? The stack of old mail and junk littering the counter, or the stuff acquired over the years you can't seem to let go of?

There can be business clutter too. Old office equipment that slows down the efficiency of your business. Ideas that don't work any more but you stick with them because they feel comfortable.

Or relationships that have gone to the wayside for a variety of reasons. We all know people we are no longer in alignment with and whose energy brings us down.

Sometimes we have to get rid of those things that aren't working any more in order to move forward with ones that are. Your clutter can actually be holding you back from your success.

Brain overload is clutter too. We have about 50,000 independent thoughts each day, all fighting for attention. Too much to do, to think about, to process and the sheer overwhelm can stop us in our tracks.

Cleaning out a drawer and replacing an old computer or printer are tasks that we can see and touch. They may seem more practical and easier to tackle, although there can be many layers of emotions tied to holding on to them.

But the other stuff, the non-physical, suck-your-energy-at-every-turn clutter can't be packed into a box and stored or donated.

When I have too much on my mind, I can't sort through what I need to be doing next. My thoughts overtake my day and I don't sleep well because I can't find the off switch to my brain. I end up rehashing the day's events, thinking about tomorrow and tossing and turning all night. I'm a wreck the next day.

Can you relate?

Time to purge the jumbled mess in my head and the most effective way I've found is a writing process I learned called a Brain Dump.

Writing down absolutely everything that is whirling around in my head for me, is in essence, a deep cleanse. It is the chemical-free Drano that unclogs the goo that keeps me stuck. It calms me down and soothes the wild energy going on upstairs as my thoughts, words and incomplete sentences fill the page.

Here Are My 3 Essential Steps to a Successful Brain Dump.

1. Secure Your Environment

Find a place where you are not distracted. If you use a computer to do your writing, stay off social media. No TV. No conversations. No interruptions.

2. Unleash the Beast

Write. Whatever is on your mind, write it down. Free flow your thoughts. No editing. No organizing. No judging. No holding back. Just write.

3. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

As you purge and open your mind and the page begins to fill, new ideas may crop up. Write those down too.

When the pressure from the floodgate has subsided as words fill the page, you can examine, sort and massage the information into projects or categories as need be. Without a multitude of other ideas fighting for attention in your head, you should be able to work on those you committed to writing with more clarity

And hopefully, like me, you will enjoy a great night's sleep.

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