Do you struggle with focusing on one task at a time? Do you ever find it difficult to truly relax and enjoy your time? You might have an overactive mind, one that needs a good declutter and simply won’t relax no matter how much you wish for it.
Having an overactive mind can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you’re constantly thinking about the world around you, seeking answers to life’s many questions. A curse because it can get in the way of your relaxation time and negatively impact your productivity levels.
Learning how to declutter an overactive mind is a great step towards leading a more productive and focused life. It’ll help you live more in the present so that you can enjoy every day to the fullest.
Here are a few tips on how you can declutter an overactive mind today!
Plan your time
Do you ever have so many items on your to-do list that you end up doing none of them? While breaking tasks up into smaller, more actionable items has its advantages, sometimes that list can get way too long and end up negatively impacting your productivity.
A simple way around this is to pick your top 3 doable tasks for the day, focus on those and forget about the rest. There’s no point in trying to bite off more than you can chew, especially if it hampers your productivity.
Setting a relatively strict schedule for yourself to follow can also help in limiting distractions and keep your mind focused. Simply writing down a to-do list but not setting yourself a schedule gives your mind too much wriggle room to wander off into the land of daydreams. So, if you want to be more focused and less prone to overthinking, a schedule might be the way to go.
Get into the habit of carrying a notebook around
Do you ever just get random epiphanies in the weirdest places? In the shower, on the toilet, or right before you’re about to fall asleep? I always find myself jotting down random notes on my phone, from things to buy, to potential answers for questions I’ve been pondering for a while. All things that don’t come to me when I’m sitting at my desk with all my notetaking essentials.
So, I always have either my phone or a notebook with me to record these random thoughts. As great as a phone is for communicating with other people, it doesn’t seem to work as well when I’m trying to communicate with myself.
With handwritten notes, you don’t have to worry about mistyping and having to go back to correct it, potentially losing your train of thought. Or even worse, autocorrect failing and resulting in you not being able to understand what you’ve written when you come back to it later.
However, if you’re pressed for time or you simply prefer recording your notes electronically, I would recommend downloading a speech to text app.
Download a speech to text app
Have you ever lost your train of thought as your fingers struggled to match the speed of your thinking? Have you ever stopped in the middle of typing out a sentence to wonder exactly where you were going with it?
If so, using a speech to text app (or browser extension) in place of manually typing might benefit you quite a bit. Instead of painstakingly tapping each key yourself, all you have to do is speak your thoughts aloud, and the app will translate it into text for you. While you do have to speak loudly enough and enunciate each word, it’s definitely a process that’s a lot faster and more convenient.
The downside to these apps is that there is no punctuation and you may find the resulting text chock-full of grammatical errors. But, for the convenience it provides, you can’t really complain. Proofreading the resulting text generally doesn’t take that long. However, if you want to make life much easier for yourself, using Grammarly will save you quite a bit of time AND it’ll be able to find those pesky little errors that are easily missed.
If you write anything electronically, Grammarly is a lifesaver. Especially when it comes to editing job applications and essays. Why make mistakes that can be avoided with a simple browser extension? Read more at Why You Need Grammarly if You Write Anything.
Write your thoughts down
With so much information readily available at our fingertips, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. I don’t know about you, but with all the new information being thrown at me every day, through social media, news articles etc., I find it ridiculously hard to retain information now.
Perhaps instead of describing ourselves as having a bad memory, I think we should call it brain overload. It’s a much more fitting term, considering we walk around with mini computers in our hands all day. A simple search query lands us with pages upon pages of new (and sometimes conflicting) information on our subject of choice.
With all this information tumbling around in your brain all day, you might want to consider making jotting your thoughts down a regular habit. Similar to the approach of drop everything and read, drop everything and write is a good way to transfer your thoughts onto paper. Think of it as a stream of consciousness, a flow of written text that represents your thought process.
Try ‘brain dumping’
If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night because of an overactive mind, you might want to consider incorporating a “brain dump session” into your bedtime routine as a way to “declutter”. You may find it surprisingly effective in reducing the frequency of random pop-ups in your mind.
The idea of a brain dump journal is simple. It’s really just a notebook dedicated to preserving the mutterings of your mind. It’s a collection of all your ideas, thoughts, feelings and random musings, all preserved and available for your perusal. As a result, It’s a great place to look for sources of inspiration for your next creative project. Your next big idea might be somewhere in those pages!
Strangely enough, I always remember previously forgotten to-dos right before I fall asleep, so I find it handy to keep a place for my notes on my nightstand. I don’t know about you, but every time a task that I need to complete the next morning pops into my mind, I never end up remembering to do it when I wake up.
So, next time you have a great idea pop into your mind, don’t try to remember it for the next day and risk forgetting it overnight. Reach over to your nightstand and jot it down!
Go out and clear your head
Sometimes, all you need to calm and declutter an overactive mind is a simple walk outside. Being stuck at a desk all day will only lead to restlessness and encourage your mind to wander.
Even if you’ve set your top 3 priority tasks and given yourself a schedule to follow, staying in the same environment for long periods of time won’t do you any favours in keeping your mind focused and on-track. One of the best methods for maintaining focus and productivity is the Pomodoro technique. Breaking work down into intervals and giving yourself sufficient breaks in between is so important in preventing yourself from getting distracted.
If you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration or motivation, taking a walk outside and breathing in the fresh air might just be what you need!
If you want to find out more on how to increase your productivity levels:
Find hobbies to occupy your mind
Having an overactive mind can be very annoying at times. Especially when it causes you to overthink and dwell on situations much more than you would like.
Finding an escape from those thoughts in the form of a hobby can provide much-needed relief. And you’ll be doing something that you love and are passionate about.
For me, my favourite way of escaping reality (and my thoughts) is reading. There’s nothing quite like immersing myself into a completely new world and being able to experience a life so far removed from my own. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” ~ George R.R. Martin
While you’re not exactly giving your overactive mind a “declutter”, you’re allowing it to take a break from being so active. Instead, it can take a backseat and enjoy the rollercoaster of a ride your book is taking it on.
There are so many different hobbies out there that, if you allow it to, can singly occupy your mind for a short period of time. Even immersing yourself into a movie or short film can give your mind the rest it needs to recover from all the hustle and bustle going on in there.
Take up meditation
If YOU want to be in control of your thoughts instead of letting your thoughts control you, learning to meditate can set you on the right path.
The many benefits of meditation in calming an overactive mind include:
- learning how to empty your mind
- helping you focus on the present
- learning how to manage your stress levels
- increasing self-awareness to better manage your emotions
- reducing negative emotions that hinder your focus
By training your mind to be more focused and learning how to direct your thoughts, you’ll be the one taking the reins. Perhaps you’ll be able to dull the sounds of your overactive mind to a soft murmur. Or maybe you’ll be able to dictate when it’s time to focus, and when it’s time to let your mind wander.
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