There are only so many hours and minutes in a day and you can’t manage the time. But you can manage your attention, focus and productivity. So declutter your mind as
we have limited mental capacity. Our brains are well suited to creating ideas, but not remembering ideas or facts.
There are only so many hours and minutes in a day and you can’t manage the time. But you can manage your attention, focus and productivity. In my last blogs and [su_button url=”https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVuqLXvZyQSImpXdsDTvu8Q” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#3ca6b0″ radius=”0″ icon=”icon: video-camera”]videos[/su_button] I’ve looked at how you can improve your attention and focus managing your sleep, exercise and stress levels. In these next four blogs I’m looking at how you can create some headspace to help keep your head clear and concentrate. Stop wasting your mental energy on things that don’t matter.
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Declutter Your Mind
We have limited mental capacity. Our brains are well suited to creating ideas, but not remembering ideas or facts. We have a working memory where we briefly hold facts, figures or ideas. Unless you are a memory athlete training to be a World Memory Champion, most normal people have a capacity to hold about 4 things in their working memory at once*. So the best thing to do is a brain dump. When an idea pops into your head, you have a task to do or you remember an errand – then simply record it.
This is not a prioritised To Do list as taught by the productivity gurus like David Allen of Getting Things Done. I’m not going to make any suggestion how you record it – e.g. on post notes stuck all over your computer screen, a to-do list notepad, or using one of the many apps available today. The important thing is that you get these thoughts out of your mind and free up space to think. And the process of writing it down or typing it in will help strengthen it in your memory. It helps kill that nagging thought “I know there is something that I was supposed to do….”. Nagging thoughts are taking away your mental energy and focus.
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Create a boring routine
For me routine is boring, I love change and variety. But boring routines help by automating our actions and meaning we use less mental energy. So I’ve learnt to do the boring…but only the hard way…because I’ve forgotten something and caused myself stress. Watch this video to hear my story of how the forgotten passport lead me to create my business trip list. Similarly for a monthly management report where the data came from several different IT systems I created a list of steps (a personal process) to be more efficient.
An automated routine helps save the mental energy for what matters. Often quoted is that Steve Jobs of Apple didn’t waste his mental energy on choosing what to wear, always in jeans and black turtle neck. But if dressing elegantly gives you pleasure, then wearing the same thing day after day will actually frustrate you, causing you to waste mental energy. Overall, minimise the wasting of your mental energy on non-important things.