When Your Brain Feels Cluttered

We have all been there…and chances are we’ll all be there again. Your brain is literally overflowing with random thoughts, things you need to do, things that you need to buy, appointments you need to make…but you start to feel paralyzed because it feels a little overwhelming. Then the worst thing that can happen actually happens. You have so much to do, but you do none of it. You’ve shut down.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does…you get sucked into Instagram or Facebook and just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

How do you break out of the infinite scrolling time suck?

The first thing to do is to simply stop and do nothing. Close the social media, sit up straight in your chair, and take a long deep breath. Then, take another.

The next thing that can help is to do a brain declutter exercise. This is something that I rely on when I am having those times when I have so much to do that I can’t get anything done. This was a life saver for me last week, and it really helped me to refocus.

The Brain Declutter Exercise

Needed Supplies: 

Paper & Pen (or pencil)

Highlighters – 4 different colors

A Timer (phone or other)

The Right Environment:

Find a spot where you are comfy, it’s quiet, and you won’t be interrupted.

How to Purge Your Brain:

  • Set your timer for 5 minutes.
  • Start writing. After you start your timer spend those 5 minutes writing down everything that comes to mind. Don’t think too much about it, just write it down. Some may be things you need to do, some may be things you have to find, or even random thoughts. Just keep writing until your timer tells you to stop.
  • When time is up grab your highlighters.

Categorize What You Wrote:

  • Start with color #1 – Go through the things you wrote and use this color to highlight everything that is a random thought. These are the items where no direct action is needed, it was just something random that popped into your mind.
  • Grab color #2 – Go through the items again and highlight only the three items that are the absolute most important things that you wrote down. Really think about it because you are only highlighting three!
  • Color #3 – Of all the items that are left, use this color to highlight things that are long-term goals, wishes or dreams. These may have an action associated with them, but won’t necessarily need to be on your to do list right now.
  • Color #4 – Continue going through the last of the thoughts and highlight what items are to do list items.

By doing this exercise you are decluttering your brain by getting all those random thoughts out in the open where you can make more sense of them. You now have a place to start. And, by highlighting only those three most important items you have identified the priorities that need to come first. Remember, picking only three doesn’t devalue the other items on your list, it just helps you to become more focused and hopefully start to feel more productive.

Give it a try, and please let me know how this has helped you to give your brain a little calm.

Published by Jenn DePauw - Organized Priorities

Jenn is the owner of Organized Priorities, a Colorado-based company specializing in Organization, Productivity, and Operations. As an organization and productivity professional, Jenn specializes in individual and team productivity coaching as well as organization for both individuals and small businesses. She is also the author of The Organized Priorities Blog (www.organizedpriorities.com/blog), an organization and lifestyle blog that focuses on making life more organized, more productive, and a little easier. For helpful tips on everything from weekly planning to home organization, and daily celebrations to words of encouragement you can follow @organizedpriorities on Instagram.