This week my guest blogger is Yvonne Heffernan. Yvvonne is a project management consultant and CEO of Launch Out, LLC, a project management company that helps companies organize their projects and tasks in order to be more productive and efficient. Email her at [email protected] to learn more!
Spring is in the air! Have you scheduled your spring-cleaning? Mental spring-cleaning, that is…
So, what is a mental spring-cleaning and when do you need one?
A mental spring-cleaning is a mental purge of all of the minutia, negativity and concerns that take up valuable space in your mind, space that could be better used for productivity and creativity. In other words, it’s a clearing of mental clutter.
Do you know how crowded and distracted you feel when you walk into your office and have to push aside the mound of papers in order to open your computer? Or how frustrated you feel when you forget where you put an important document or your keys?
A cluttered mind causes as much, if not more, inefficiency as a cluttered house or office. It’s deceiving because you can’t see the clutter in your physical space, so you may not notice the impact. In the meantime, you’re stacking boxes upon boxes of mental clutter in the corners of your mind and wonder why you are having a hard time focusing or being productive.
On the flip side, do you know how good you feel when you throw out all of the clutter in your house or office and walk into a clean, organized space? The same thing can happen when you clear your mind of mental clutter.
If your mind is so cluttered that you don’t know where to start, or if you’re so annoyed at a co-worker, boss, or client that you can’t even respond to an email, try a mental spring-cleaning and see how you feel. Most times, you’ll feel better instantly.
So, how exactly do you perform a mental spring-cleaning?
1) Perform a mental purge. One of my favorite exercises for mental spring-cleaning (and daily mental clearing) comes from Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”.
Set aside 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. Then sit down, get out a pen and 2 pieces of paper (yes, good old-fashioned pen and paper) and write whatever comes to your head. Fill up the 2 pages of paper (back and front), and dump everything that’s in your mind onto the paper.
The goal is to get everything out of your head so that you can face your tasks with clarity and focus. This will increase your productivty and peace of mind, guaranteed.
2) Transfer your to-do items to your calendar. After your mental purge, go back through your 2 pages and look for action items/follow-ups. Next, take out your calendar and schedule those tasks in your calendar immediately. This will create peace of mind so that your brain knows that there aren’t any loose ends.
3) Rip up the 2 pages and throw them away. Once you have transferred each of your tasks to your calendar, you are ready for the final step. Rip up the 2 pages that contain all of your mental clutter and throw them away!
That’s it! In 3 easy steps, you have purged your mental clutter, organized your thoughts into action items, and put your tasks into a container (your calendar) where you can find them whenever you need them.
Better yet, you now have a system that you can use anytime! You don’t need to wait until spring to perform your mental spring-cleaning. You can do this every day in order to start the day with a clear mind, or whenever you feel the need to clear away the mental clutter….
Happy Spring Cleaning!