You Need a Break: Create Mental Whitespace
“Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”
– Google’s Eric Schmidt
With that kind of information overload, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Here are some quick tips on how to unclutter your mind and free yourself up to concentrate on your highest value projects:
Step 1: Write down all your “to-do’s” floating around in your head. All of them. From writing next year’s communication plan to cleaning out the cat’s litter box. “Empty your rice bowl” as the zen masters say.
Step 2: Sort your list chronologically. What has to get done today, this week, this month, in the next 90 days, in the next year, in the next five years.
Step 3: Keep the things you don’t like to do, but “must do,” such as clean the cat litter box or teach your daughter to drive. Keep the things you don’t like to do, but “must do,” such as clean the cat litter box or teach your daughter to drive. You will find items on your list that are not life-or-career-critical. These tasks are eating up mind space. If you’re not jazzed about a project or task, and it’s not a “must-do,” cross it off the list with clinical precision.
Step 4: Don’t fill the rice bowl back up. This takes discipline, but there’s a good chance that you were over-committed to begin with, so crossing off the “meh” projects unclutters your mind and de-stresses you. Don’t ruin it by over-committing again.
Step 5: Get done what you need to get done each day using this simple daily productivity formula. Everyday build into your schedule:
- One high value task
- Three medium value tasks
- Five low-value, but have to get done, tasks per day
We didn’t say it would be easy to do this. It takes discipline, but now you have a handy road map out of a cluttered mind.