The past few weeks my mind has been filled with so much clutter, and it's so distracting, and that got me to thinking about how much we're distracted throughout the day. There is a lot of mindless clutter that we consume between TV and social media that I've made it a point to avoid both during the day. Ask yourself; "how many hours am I sitting in front of the TV, on my phone, when I could be doing something else?" I'm sure, like me, it's a lot, but it's easy to remove these distractions that cause clutter. Here's the thing, our world is consumed with a constant feed of information that we don't even realize it's causing a distraction. As a result, we're limiting our ability to focus, create, and accomplish our goals. To remove your mental clutter and distractions, try implementing these five steps.
Access the clutter
Physical clutter is easy to access; a messy desk or disorganized closet can be cleaned up and organized, but what about mind clutter? Mind clutter is difficult to identify because we get distracted by the thought of being distracted. I've found that meditation helps, but if that's not your thing, try sitting in silence for a few minutes to identify what distracting you, give it the attention it needs and let it go. Also, as each thought pops into your head and distracts you from centering, pause and write it down, continue to do this until you're able to sit with a clear mind.
Social media is also a major key to removing clutter. First off, turn off your notifications. Every time a notification pops up on your phone, you'll be inclined to stop what you're doing and check it. I've put myself on a social media schedule—no social media before 8:00 AM and none after 11:00 PM, and none while I'm spending time with loved ones or working.
Once you've identified the clutter you want to get rid of; sort it into categories. The categories can be: I can let it go right now, I can do research to get rid of it, I can change my attitude towards it, or I can get therapy to deal with the situation. Once you've identified the categories and where each thought (or story) falls, create a plan of attack to avoid this distraction later.
Plan your attack
Treat this how you would treat any goal or project you're working on. While you're working through the categories, create a to-do list of the next steps you need to take to either completely remove the clutter or reduce it.
Establish a routine and prepare
I'm big on routines because it creates consistency. I wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, and because of that routine, I'm able to prepare myself for the next morning. I make my lunch, prepare my clothing and bag the night before; this allows me to focus on my morning prayer rituals without being distracted by the thoughts of getting those things ready. Also, I prepare my work for the next day. Because I schedule my week, (work, gym, downtime) I'm able to set up my workstation so that when I'm ready to begin working, I don't have to look for anything.
Doing this can appear monotonous and robotic, but allowing yourself to have consistency will remove many of the distractions you face when moving through the day.
Mental clutter is hard to avoid, we all deal with it and work on it differently. A lot of it can be prevented if we pay attention and look for the physical clues. If our outer life is hectic, chances are the same is happening internally. Creating a list as mentioned above or a journal will help you in identifying the mental clutter and will allow you to avoid it in the future.
I will leave you with my mother's favorite prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Continue to Live Your Life in Style and always Be Inspired.