21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter, Concluded

As women, our plates are often stacked high with half a million urgent tasks. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when we’re being pulled in a dozen different directions at the exact same time.

Sometimes God orchestrates our schedules in such a way that it forces us to rely on Him for grace just to make it through the day.

However, sometimes the stress is of our making. Sometimes we fill our lives to overflowing with “brain clutter” and then wonder why we can’t seem to get anything really accomplished.

That’s the brain clutter I am on a journey to get rid of.

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(Just joining us? Read the rest of the series! 1- 2 of 21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter, 3-10 on Eliminating Technological Clutter and 11-16 on De-Cluttering the Home)

  1. Clear your schedule so you have time for the most important things.In today’s fast-paced society, you can be as busy as you want. Learn to say “no”, even to events that sound fun, so that you can really concentrate on and enjoy the best
  2. Take care of your body: Eat brain-friendly food. (Some foods encourage clear thinking. Some foods rob mental energy.) Get outside and exercise: There’s something about just breathing fresh air and enjoying a bit of sunshine that is so invigorating and brain-decluttering.
  3. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep saps mental energy quicker than just about anything else. Walking around in a sleepy fog makes for a very cluttered brain. Of course, sleep is not always possible, especially as moms to young children. When you can sleep though, do! If your mind starts racing the moment you hit the pillow, keep a notebook by your bed to get the thoughts out of your brain and on to paper.
  4. Stop procrastinating. Has a project been on your to-do list (and in the back of your mind) for months? Just do it!
  5. Trust God. God knows what you need. Sometimes it’s not always what you think you need. As my friend Kasey, from These Five of Mine Plus 2, put it so beautifully, “I’m a girl that needs my sleep. So God gave me 7 children that I might realize I’m really just a mother that needs my Lord!”
I wish I could say that I do all these things consistently. I don’t. But as I’m learning to do each task that lies before me faithfully, the clutter in my brain clears.
What about you? How do you clear your brain of all the clutter so you can focus on faithfully doing what God has called you to do?
linked up at Proverbs 31 ThursdayFiner Things Friday and Handful of Heart Monday

De-Clutter your Home, De-Clutter your Brain

I’m on a quest to de-clutter my brain!

Technology-overload can clutter the brain. So can a cluttered home.

A smoothly-running home creates the perfect atmosphere for an uncluttered brain. There’s something so peaceful about a well-ordered home. A home where everything has a place and is put in its place when not being used.

This doesn’t mean no messes. Homes are supposed to be lived in. Children are supposed to play. And, even though I don’t always act like I believe it, a cheerful attitude is much more important than a tidy home!

Life happens. An uncluttered home isn’t first priority, but it does help clear out the brain clutter. The following ideas have helped our home (and my brain!) be less cluttered.

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(Read tips 1 and 2 of 21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter and 3-10 on Eliminating Technological Clutter)

  1. Establish a household rhythm: I am really good at making detailed schedules. I am really horrible at following them. Find the balance between discipline and flexibility that work for you. Having a basic meal plan, a morning routine and a rotating cleaning schedule help clear my brain. I don’t have to spend lots of mental energy at 4 pm trying to think of what to have for dinner and I know that my home will never get overwhelmingly dirty. Find the balance that gives you flexibility and clears your brain of unnecessary decisions.
  2. Set “mess perimeters”: Your home should be lived in, but that doesn’t mean it should always be messy. Set up a few guidelines that make your home peaceful. For example, we established a “no toys in the living room after dinner” rule. The kids can build forts in the living room during the day, but in the evening the living room is for relaxing and reading. We also have set clean-up times before naps, dinner, and bed; and before leaving the home.
  3. Get rid of stuff that clutters your home, your closet, your vehicle and your brain! Purge until it almost hurts. Clutter everywhere leads to a cluttered brain!
  4. Put things all the way away, right away!  When you’re done with something, put it all the way away, whether it is laundry or books or notes. Avoid piles.
  5. Set up a donate/sell and a “return” box. Don’t just purge once or twice a year! As soon as an item ceases to be useful and just clutters your home, put it straight into the box. When the box is full, donate it or put it into your garage sale stash. Did the shirt you bought your husband not fit? Put it straight into the return box (kept handy or even in the van) so that it’s ready to be returned next time you visit the store. (Make sure to stick the receipt with the item or in your purse.)
  6. Read, sort and dispose of mail as soon as you bring it inside. Handle mail only once (unless it’s a personal letter to treasure!) File important papers, write important dates on your calendar (ahem, this is one I’m notorious at!) and toss the junk mail. Pay bills immediately or set up automatic billing. Not worrying “did I forget to pay my water bill?” definitely clears out brain clutter!
Join me tomorrow as we finish out the 21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter series. 
What about you? How do you keep your brain (and your home!) uncluttered? 


Eliminate Technological Brain Clutter

I’m on a journey to eliminate brain clutter, as I shared yesterday. Brain clutter comes in many forms. One of the biggest challenges to a clear brain in the 21st century is technological “clutter.”

Researches have raised concern that constant media input may shorten attention spans and may rewire the brain. Eliminating technological brain clutter is vital (and so difficult!)

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21 ways to de-clutter the brain, continued:

(Read part 1 of 21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter)

  1. Stop checking Facebook, Twitter or email constantly! Smart phones serve a great purpose, but checking email when you should be doing laundry simply clutters the brain. As several dear friends encourage, put the phone down and concentrate!
  2. If it will take less than two minutes, answer emails immediately. Reading the email once and answering it right away, leaves your brain clear to move on to the next task. The same rules applies to comments, articles, etc.
  3. Set aside time each week (or day or month) to answer the emails that require a longer reply.
  4. Keep an empty inbox. I learned this trick from Blogging with Amy and it has revolutionized my mentality towards email! Emails no longer overwhelm me. [Check out her step by step instructions for how to have an empty inbox in Gmail while still keeping all your messages safely archived. Plus, learn how to install a cool “send and archive” feature.]
  5. Limit phone calls. Set aside times to make long calls to friends or family. Don’t just pick up the phone to chat when you have other things you should be doing.
  6. But, if you have an item that needs to be taken care of (and it will only take two minutes) make that call! Stop procrastinating.
  7. Think before you turn to the internet. The internet teams with ideas and advice. Sometimes though, I tend to mindlessly turn to the internet rather than thinking about the problem and possible remedies first. Don’t get me wrong. I love the internet, but it can’t replace your brain!
  8. Embrace times of “technological quiet.” It’s the 21st century and we are bombarded with “noise”  on every side all day long. Set aside time to turn off the computer, cell phones, music or tv.
…to be continued next week.
What about you? How do you navigate technology without cluttering your brain? 


21 Ways to Clear out the Brain Clutter

We all know what a cluttered home looks like: stuff lies scattered about and we stumble over the piles of laundry and stub our toes on Duplos.

I hate clutter.

Brain clutter is like house clutter. Brain clutter dampens our focus and distracts us. Brain clutter is all the unfinished matters we need to attend to that distract us while we’re working on a task.

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Ever been washing the dishes and remembered, “Oh, I forgot to pay the water bill.” So, before you forget, you leave the dishes and go pay the water bill. While online, you remember an email you read this morning that just has to get answered….

Am I the only one?

Recently, I read Blogging with Amy’s post about how to keep your inbox clean. That post finally turned the brain clutter light-bulb on. I used to read an email, then think about it while I did laundry, then read it again (sometimes days or weeks later) before finally getting around to responding. My response was generally late and I wasted so much mental energy!

I teach my children, “play with your toys, then put them away before you get something else out.”

You and I may not play with toys like a toddler, but the same principle still applies. Finish the task at hand.  

My brain is still cluttered at times, but it is getting tidier and I feel so much more productive! Would you like to join my journey to de-clutter the brain and keep it cleared? 

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to post 21 practical tips to help eliminate brain clutter. Not all tips will be practical for everyone, but I hope we all walk away encouraged!

  1. Start each day recognizing Whose you are. Jumping into the day feet first may seem more logical, but as Christians, we are not our own. Acknowledge God’s sovereignty over you and your plans. As Passionate Homemaking encourages, start your day by getting dressed in your spiritual clothes.
  2. Identify the tasks you tend to procrastinate on, then do them early in the day! For me that means get dressed before breakfast. Otherwise, the day picks up speed and before I know it, it’s ten and I’m still in my pajamas… which for some (rather logical) reason, makes my brain feel cluttered and behind. Get the tasks you dread out of the way first; it helps clear your mind for the rest of the day!
Do you struggle with brain clutter? How do you eliminate it?
linked up at Proverbs 31 Thursday and Hearts 4 Home and Finer Things Friday