Are you feeling overwhelmed with life right now or is it just me? My brain is feeling unusually cluttered these days with so much information being fired at me from all directions. I don’t know about you but when I get overwhelmed my natural inclination is to procrastinate which only exasperates the problem because then nothing gets done. When I start to have trouble falling asleep I know there is a problem and one of the main culprits for me is my mind running on information overload. Now obviously we can’t control all circumstances in our lives. I have a tax deadline looming that I have no control over for instance. But there are things I can do to stop the unnecessary noise that filters its way into my brain demanding me to look, hear, see and do.
Here are four examples of tactics I use to give my mind a rest from all the overwhelming noise clutter so I can focus in on my priorities and get stuff done.
How to Stop the Noise that Clutters Our Minds
Turn off notifications on your phone
Whether they are silent notifications or ones that constantly ding at you, they are grabbing for your attention either way. Too much unnecessary noise that is distracting you and adding to your loss of focus. Facebook, Instagram and other social media notifications compete for your attention and distract you from the task at hand. It is really really hard to ignore them. In fact, sometimes turning off notifications isn’t enough, I have friends that have deleted certain apps on their phones altogether because they don’t trust themselves not to check them every two minutes. If you are prone to procrastination like I am, recognizing and removing the triggers is a positive step.
Unsubscribe to email newsletters
You know all those newsletters you sign up for from companies so you get their latest sales and updates? It’s not a bad thing but gosh I’ve fallen victim to the “oh my goodness, so and so company is having a huge sale I’d better run out immediately and go check it out or hop online to buy it”. Eeesh. I also get a lot of blog newsletters which I love but sometimes when 10+ come in at the same time and clutter up my inbox it starts to make me twitch especially when so many now have a call to action in every single one.
Distraction leads to procrastination which leads to stress and overwhelm.
Tip: If you use Gmail you can actually designate certain emails to bypass your inbox and go straight to a labeled file folder you set up. This has made a big difference for me not having a cluttered inbox with emails that don’t necessarily have to be dealt with right away. Then I have a rule if I haven’t read them in a couple of weeks time they get deleted.
I use to pride myself on being a multi-tasker extraordinaire. In fact, I wore that title like a badge of honor, thinking I was all that and more just because I could do a million different things at once. Whoopee! As I’ve gotten older and somewhat wiser, I have figured out that I actually get more done when I concentrate on one thing at a time. Unless you are doing something mindless like folding laundry and watching TV, I just don’t highly recommend trying to do multiple tasks at once. It complicates your brain as it tries to keep up and eventually it just won’t anymore.
Keep a list notebook and planner
I’ve talked about my list notebook (<– please read that post) many times here on the blog as it has been a lifesaver for me. I still use one but it’s gotten an upgrade recently to a much more efficient method. Basically it’s a place to brain dump all the things swirling in your head. Then every morning I sit down and select three most important tasks from it and add them to the planner I use day to day. Currently I am using the Simply Yours Day Planner (affiliate link*) and am loving it because it’s not too big (smaller than the average spiral planner) or too heavy either. Plus it packs an organizational punch.
I’ll go into these two methods of staying organized in more detail next week and I’ll have a giveaway for you as well so keep an eye open for that :)
Use reminders on your phone
This is actually a new one for me. For the longest time I was trying to find a simple app that would help me with lists while I was out on the go not realizing that the free Reminders app that came with my phone was exactly what I needed all along. Here’s how I have my list set up.
The fact that I can have different colored headings appeals to me because I’m a visual girl. Under each list heading is a sub-list and with each item you add you have the option to have a reminder sent to you on a certain day and time. The best part is when a reminder notification is sent it stays on the lock screen until you delete it even if you are going in and out of your phone to do other things. It’s really simple yet very effective.
Eliminate external clutter
Even if you think your piles of stuff aren’t bothering you, subconsciously it more than likely is. For instance, your piles of magazines waiting to be read by your nightstand are more than just a pile of magazines. They are burden on your brain reminding you every time you see them that you have something else to do that you just can’t get to. The longer they sit there, the worse you feel. Do yourself a favor today, cut your losses and just donate them okay. Not only will it free up your physical space but your mental space as well. Purging clutter and excess stuff makes a big big difference to your state of mind.
Embrace the Silence
Okay I totally know this one seems like a no brainer but seriously think about when the last time was that you just really enjoyed a moment of quiet. Yes I know that’s nearly impossible with young ones underfoot, believe me I get it, but I also know that sometimes when we do get a small moment we don’t take advantage of it. We are so use to the constant noise that we have this crazy counter-productive urge to fill it by jumping on our phones, turning on the television or any other number of things. When what we really need is 5 minutes to just be still. Breathe in the beauty of nature, or pray or just even process some much needed thoughts. My morning showers just keep getting longer and longer for this reason, I get so much thinking accomplished! :) It’s also why I created a beach sanctuary in my bedroom to get away to the ocean (my happy place) for awhile even if only in my mind.
Without having these systems in place I swear I wouldn’t remember which end was up or where I was going. The relentless noise frustrates me and boggles my mind to the point of exhaustion. I rely on these methods because they save my sanity. I hope they help you too.
- *Please note that affiliate links are included in this post to make it easier for you to find what is being referenced. A small commission is made should you purchase product using these links, but this is at no extra cost to you. As always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own – or the author, in the case of posts by my guest contributors. Thank you!*