Learning to Declutter and Clear Your Mind

I’m a mental hoarder. If you were to look inside my head, you would find all types of mental clutter. Boxes labeled “random shower thoughts”, trashcans full of personal bullshit, and a closet overflowing with reminders, ideas and useless information. This creates a negative impact on my ability to recall and recollect. I often find myself in this awkward situation where this was something I know I took a mental note of, but I just can’t remember what it was. I would sit there with a dumbfounded look on my face trying to remember the thing I was suppose to remember 😂.

The are many ways to clear your mind. I discovered that the quickest way to clear your mind is to simply write everything down. I got this idea from one of the principles of the GTD (Get things Done) method. GTD is a organizational system that focuses on completing tasks. In GTD, it is often stressed that your mind should be a place for thinking and not storing. The more you store, the less room you have to formulate new ideas and do calculations. Obviously, this isn’t true from a scientific perspective but definitely helps to empty your mind.

On my Galaxy Note 9, I keep a widget on my homescreen from the Samsung reminders app. With this widget, I jot down every random thought that hits my brain that I might want to act on. It’s important that you only note thoughts that you want to act upon, otherwise, you’re becoming an echo chamber for your brain. You will be surprised about how many random thoughts pop into your head. At any time, my list might look something like this:

  1. I should fix the font on my website
  2. Try peanut butter banana sandwiches for lunch
  3. Call mom before dinner
  4. Add line to script, “Wow still doing tech, huh?”
  5. Change podcast title - The First
  6. Look into Http2
  7. Maybe I should go to philly friday

I’m willing to bet that this is the easiest and most practical approach to empty your mind. It does not take any additional effort beyond a two second scribble or tap , and becomes very effective in having a clear mind. I have been so amazed by the amount of times I will look at stuff on the list later in the day (often at work), and say, “Damn…I’m glad I wrote that down. I completely forgot about that.”

There are other ways to clear your mind that include mindful meditation and sensory meditation. These are useful when you get the opportunity, but they still don’t solve the space junk floating around your head. Remember, the goal is to note it and take action when you’re ready; not to completely ignore it forever.

Hopefully this helps you clear your mind a little. It’s not perfect, but easy to implement and worth a shot. I’ve found it highly effective so far.