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I’m Using These Productivity Rules To Declutter My Brain In This Distracted, Modern World

ByAzleen Abdul Rahim
on

In today’s fast-paced and digitally connected world, I noticed that my brain is constantly bombarded with information, notifications, and distractions. As a result, I felt significantly cluttered, making it challenging for me to focus, stay organised, and maintain a sense of clarity. This was back in 2020. However, I know with the right strategies and mindset, it is possible to declutter my brain and create a more peaceful and productive mental environment. So I decided to make a move to slow my pace down a little right after that. 

Let me share with you the tricks. 

Understand the impact of digital overload

The first step is to acknowledge and fully comprehend the profound impact of digital overload on my mental well-being. In today’s interconnected world, I realised that I’ve been bombarded with a relentless stream of emails, social media updates, and notifications that infiltrate my life. This constant influx of information, while intended to keep me connected and informed, often leads to a detrimental sense of mental clutter and overwhelm.

To truly grasp the magnitude of this issue, I took a moment to pause and reflect on the amount of time you spend engrossed in the online realm. I went to Cameron Highland, one of the coolest places in Malaysia, and spent a few nights there to work on my next move. This self-reflection is crucial as it allows me to gain a deeper understanding of how digital overload impacts my mental landscape and how best to address it.

By cultivating a heightened sense of awareness regarding the effects of digital overload, I opened the door to initiate transformative change. I began to consciously evaluate the quality and quantity of my online activities. Examine whether the time spent online aligns with my future values, goals, and overall well-being. Be honest with me about the extent to which digital distractions hinder my ability to accomplish tasks, stay focused, and fully immerse myself in meaningful experiences.

To me, awareness serves as a catalyst for change, enabling me to make informed decisions about my digital consumption habits and implement strategies to mitigate the overwhelming mental clutter. By acknowledging the adverse effects of digital overload, I laid the foundation for embarking on a journey of decluttering my life and restoring a sense of clarity and tranquillity in the midst of this fast-paced, digitally-driven world.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness, a profound and transformative practice, serves as a powerful tool in the pursuit of decluttering the mind. At its core, mindfulness entails consciously directing my attention to the present moment, fully immersing myself in the here and now, and embracing the present experience without judgment or attachment. By cultivating mindfulness regularly, I embarked on a journey of training my brain cells to discern what truly matters and liberating myself from the burdensome weight of unnecessary thoughts.

Engaging in simple yet potent techniques, such as morning walks, reading articles and books, long drives, defensive driving and having breakfast together with loved ones serves as an anchor to bring my attention back to the present moment. 

As I commit to the regular practice of mindfulness, I gradually witness the transformative power it holds over my mental landscape. The discipline of mindfulness empowers me to recognise and release the thoughts and emotions that no longer serve me, fostering a sense of spaciousness within my mind. By nurturing focused and non-judgmental attention to the present moment, I develop the ability to discern what truly matters and let go of the mental debris that hinders my growth and well-being.

In this age of constant stimulation and information overload, the practice of mindfulness becomes ever more crucial in decluttering my mind. By integrating the principles of mindfulness into my daily life and employing simple techniques to anchor me in the present, I suddenly unlock the transformative potential to experience greater clarity, calmness, and fulfilment amidst the chaos of the modern world happening out there.

Simplify things

To effectively declutter my brain and create a harmonious mental environment, it is of utmost importance to prioritise and simplify this life I’m having today. This process entails a deliberate and thoughtful examination of the tasks, commitments, and goals, with a focus on identifying those that align most closely with my core values and aspirations. By differentiating between the essential and the non-essential, I managed to pave the way for a more purposeful and streamlined existence.

Once I identified the core tasks, commitments, and goals that truly matter, it becomes necessary to eliminate or delegate those that fall into the non-essential category. Embracing the power of saying “no” becomes a pivotal tool in preventing over-commitment and maintaining a healthy equilibrium. By setting clear boundaries, I’ve created space for activities that truly resonate with the objectives I set my eyes on. 

Simplifying my environment, both in the physical and digital realms, is another thing I also want to share with you. Physical clutter, such as excessive possessions, can unknowingly weigh on the mind, causing a sense of chaos and disarray. By deliberately removing unnecessary physical objects from my living and working spaces, I got rid of some personal items from my office desk, my office bag, the vehicles and the house. 

In the digital domain, the incessant influx of information, notifications, and emails can lead to mental overwhelm and a cluttered mindset. I started this by unsubscribing from unnecessary email lists, setting up filters to manage incoming messages, and organising all my digital files in a systematic manner. 

Remember, simplifying our digital life extends beyond managing emails and files. Consider evaluating the applications and platforms we engage with regularly. I started to remove myself from Instagram, Facebook and Twitter completely. And at the same time, I keep my online presence on LinkedIn bare minimum. 

Create a productive routine

Establishing a productive routine can help declutter our brain by providing structure and reducing decision fatigue. I now have dedicated time blocks for different activities, such as work, exercise, family, rest and holidays. Guess what, I slept at 10.30 pm now every night. Follow a consistent sleep schedule to ensure my brain gets the rest it needs. By having a routine, I’m able to minimise the mental energy spent on deciding what to do next, allowing my brain to focus on the present task at hand.

Work on just one or two tasks only

In the modern world, multitasking has become ingrained in our daily routines, praised as a sign of productivity and efficiency. However, this is not true at all. Far from it. 

Having just one or two tasks daily to work on allows me to fully immerse myself in the present moment. By focusing solely on the tasks at hand, I eliminated the mental clutter caused by dividing my attention among multiple activities. This approach provides an opportunity to engage deeply with the task, fostering greater creativity, problem-solving, and a higher level of attention to detail. As a result, the quality of my productivity improves, leading to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

To effectively implement this type of strategy, it is essential to prioritise tasks based on their importance and urgency. I allocated each day approximately 3-4 hours to conclude those tasks. Usually, the work can be concluded quicker. This approach helps alleviate mental clutter by providing a structured framework for task management and decision-making. It works for me.

It’s pretty simple actually. The act of devoting my undivided attention to each task offers numerous benefits. As I focus on a single task, I enter a state of flow, where time seems to stand still, distractions fade away, and productivity soars. Completing tasks one by one also provides a sense of closure and accomplishment, reinforcing positive feedback loops that fuel motivation and drive.

Digital Detox

Taking regular breaks from digital devices can be immensely beneficial, I can vouch for that. Schedule periods of time throughout the day or week when you disconnect from technology and engage in offline activities. I usually go offline from 5 pm onwards. And I use this time to hit the gym, read a book, go for coffee, or blog. By reducing digital distractions, I’m allowing my brain to recharge and refocus.

Embrace physical exercise

Ah, this is crucial. Physical exercise goes beyond its obvious benefits for the body. Did you know that it has a profound impact on the brain as well? Engaging in regular physical activity is a powerful tool to declutter your mind, foster mental clarity, and promote overall well-being. The benefits extend far beyond the physical realm, as exercise releases endorphins, improves cognitive function, and reduces stress levels.

When you engage in physical exercise, whether it’s a rigorous gym session, a peaceful yoga class, or a leisurely walk in the park, your body releases endorphins. These natural chemicals act as neurotransmitters in the brain, producing feelings of happiness and euphoria. The release of endorphins during exercise enhances your mood and creates a sense of well-being, effectively decluttering your mind from negative thoughts and emotions.

Moreover, regular physical activity has a direct impact on cognitive function. Studies have shown that exercise improves memory, enhances focus, and boosts overall cognitive performance. By increasing blood flow to the brain, exercise promotes the growth of new neurons and strengthens the connections between them. This neuroplasticity enhances learning abilities, improves problem-solving skills, and enhances overall mental clarity.

Another significant benefit of exercise is its ability to reduce stress. In our fast-paced and demanding modern world, stress can accumulate and clutter our minds, hindering our ability to think clearly and make decisions effectively. Engaging in physical activity triggers the release of stress-reducing hormones, such as serotonin and dopamine, which help alleviate tension and anxiety. Regular exercise provides a healthy outlet for stress, allowing you to declutter your mind and experience a greater sense of calm and relaxation.

To fully reap the mental benefits of exercise, it is important to make it a part of your routine. Incorporating regular physical activity into your schedule ensures consistency and maximises the positive impact on your brain. Find activities that you enjoy and that suits your lifestyle, whether it’s hitting the gym, practising yoga, going for a run, or participating in team sports. Consistency is key, and by making exercise a regular habit, you create a consistent practice of decluttering your mind and nurturing your mental well-being.

As you move your body and engage in physical exercise, you provide yourself with a valuable opportunity to disconnect from the noise and distractions of daily life. The rhythmic movement and focus required during exercise create a meditative state, allowing your mind to clear and find respite from the mental clutter. This sense of mental clarity extends beyond the exercise session, influencing your overall state of mind and providing a foundation for improved productivity, creativity, and overall mental well-being.

Journaling, writing and brain dumping

Journaling and writing articles serve as powerful techniques for decluttering the brain and gaining valuable insights into our thoughts and emotions. By dedicating a few minutes each day to the practice of writing, we engage in a process of “brain dumping” that effectively clears the mental clutter and provides a profound sense of release.

When we put pen to paper or type on a keyboard, we create a safe space for our thoughts, worries, and ideas to flow freely. The act of writing allows us to externalise and explore the contents of our minds, granting us a deeper understanding of ourselves and our experiences. By capturing our thoughts in written form, we gain clarity, make connections, and gain valuable insights that may have otherwise remained buried amidst the chaos of our busy lives.

The process of journaling serves as a therapeutic outlet for emotions and concerns. By journaling regularly, we give ourselves permission to express our truest selves, free from judgment or criticism. We can pour out our worries, fears, and frustrations onto the pages, relieving ourselves of their weight. Through this act of release, we create mental space for new perspectives, ideas, and solutions to emerge.

In addition to decluttering the mind, journaling can also be a helpful tool for setting goals and tracking progress. By writing down our aspirations, dreams, and ambitions, we bring them into focus and provide ourselves with a roadmap for personal growth. Regularly reflecting on our achievements, challenges, and lessons learned allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our journeys and make informed decisions moving forward.

Practising gratitude is another powerful aspect of journaling. By taking the time to write down what we are grateful for, we shift our focus from the clutter of everyday worries to the abundance and blessings in our lives. Gratitude journaling cultivates a positive mindset, promotes resilience, and fosters a sense of contentment. It serves as a reminder of the beauty and joy that exists amidst the chaos, helping us appreciate the present moment and find solace in the simple pleasures of life.

Writing articles, whether for personal use or publication, takes journaling to a new level. It encourages deeper exploration of topics, a structured flow of thoughts, and a broader audience to share insights. Crafting an article requires us to organise our ideas, conduct research, and present our thoughts in a coherent and engaging manner. This process not only declutters our minds but also helps us refine our thinking, expand our knowledge, and contribute to the collective wisdom of others.

Conclusion

Try it out. I’m sure by implementing the strategies shared here, you can declutter your mind too and navigate the demands of the modern world with clarity and calmness. Remember, the journey to decluttering the brain requires consistent effort and a commitment to prioritising your mental well-being, but the rewards are well worth it. 

One piece of advice though. Start small, be patient, and enjoy the benefits of a clearer, more focused mind. 

It’s priceless.

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