7 Practical Ways To Clear Your Head And Regain Focus
Ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff swirling around in your mind? Sometimes feel lost and lacking in focus? The reason will likely be that you have amassed many unresolved thoughts in your head, and our brains simply aren’t very good at dealing with these never ending loops in our minds. Whenever I feel unclear and unfocused I like to sit down with my notepad and just get all those thoughts down on paper. It really helps to lift the mental fog! Below I’ve compiled several suggestions that I use in my life, that will help you to clear your head. Share your own tips in the comments!
- Carry a notepad everywhere
And I mean everywhere! It doesn’t strictly have to be a notepad. It can be whatever tool you can comfortably carry around, that allows you to store all those ideas and thoughts which pop into your head when you are out and about. If scribbling notes down on the back of old receipts works for you then go for it. I personally do a text message on my phone and save it to my drafts folder. Hardly cutting edge but I carry my mobile phone with me everywhere so it makes sense.
- Do a weekly review
I’ve been somewhat critical of the weekly review in the past, but that doesn’t take away from the fact you need to do some form of review on a regular basis. The purpose of it is to chase up all those open loops, clarify projects and process stuff that have slipped through the net… all things that would otherwise circle around in your head.
- Develop your long term vision
David Allen calls it the vertical map, others call it a mission statement. Whatever approach you prefer, use it to develop your long term goals and intentions. Clearing your head doesn’t just involve getting all the short term goals and projects out of your psychic ram, you have to, firstly, be clear about where you want to go in your life, and secondly, get it written down.
- Develop your day-to-day system
You’ve got your long term thinking tied up but what about the here and now? Stuff comes into your life daily, most of which will end up as mental clutter if you don’t have a system in place to process it all. Letters should go into a designated inbox, reference materal into a filing system, trash into the bin, and so on.
- Be clear about what you are doing
So much doubt and fuzzy thinking comes from not having a clear picture about what you are doing and where you are going. I considered tying this point up with your long term vision and day-to-day tracking, but it’s such an important one it deserves its own bullet point. Whether it be a project, a goal or a next action, you need to know what you are doing, why you are doing it, how you are going to do it and what the end goal is going to be.
- Use a trigger list
The trigger list is typically an extensive list of keywords, questions and sentences that help you to trigger all those open loops, thoughts and ideas in your head. It should be used regularly (perhaps as part of your weekly review) as it is the best tool you can use for dragging out all those dormant and forgotten about thoughts. Getting Things Done has a trigger list included, but you can also find another extensive one here. On Wednesday I will showcase my own list so subscribe to avoid missing it!
- Do something with it all
Ultimately, it’s no good getting everything out of your psychic ram and then not doing anything with it. It will all just end up flowing back into your brain. If you scribble ideas down in your notepad while you are out, and don’t process them when you get home, your head will just not trust you and your system, and it won’t let go of the thoughts.