Declutter your "Mental Space"
“I just don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to do it.” Ever said that before? Everyone has. It’s very common to feel stretched so thin that the thought of one more thing on your plate can threaten to shatter your life into a million bits and, well, who would clean THAT mess up?
But it’s important to recognize that this statement is actually an excuse to procrastinate. To combat it, you must declutter your “mental space.”
To begin, force yourself to sit quietly for 60 seconds. Think about everything you have to do and let the wave wash over you. Then take a deep breath, and focus on one thing at a time.
- Categorize your high priority items. This will most likely be the first 3 things that popped into your head and where you should place your focus. Everything else can wait.
- Identify what’s causing you to procrastinate. Emotions? Time? Trying to make it perfect? By labeling what we feel, we can begin to understand and counteract it.
- Be clear on what you really want to happen. If you don’t have a clear vision of what your outcome will be, it’ll be difficult to get started. Visualize completing the task and feel the relief that comes with it, and realize that you can always change course once you begin.
- Schedule time to do it. If it’s “Urgent,” schedule a specific date and time on your calendar. If it’s “Can Do Later,” start a To Do list and write it down, then assign a loose deadline for getting it done, like one week from today. Putting it on paper will act as a backup so you don’t have to remember it and will clear that mental space for more important things.
- Start small. Break large or overwhelming tasks into smaller segments to make them manageable to fit your timeframe or emotional state.
- Do it anyway. Even if your plan isn’t perfect or you’re feeling emotional, just get started. It’ll get easier once you dig in because the “mental dead weight” will be lifted and any negativity will dissipate.
- Celebrate. Making “fun” part of the process will make you more eager to tackle the next task.
Sometimes just having a clear mind, a quick plan, and taking small steps can cause great relief and encourage us to continue making progress.