8 lasting ways to devote attention, time and energy to what’s most important to you.
When most of us think of spring cleaning, we think of cleaning our home, maybe the basement or some closets. The weather is pleasant so we can open up some doors and windows, maybe haul some crap to the curb that’s been accumulating around the house for years.
When we’re done and hang up that broom, we’re beat, but it feels good. We’ve given some stuff away, we’ve lightened the load. When we get rid of stuff and don’t run out to replace it, the stuff no longer requires our attention. The need to clean it, move it, store it, discard it goes away, freeing up time (and the to-do lists in our head) for more important things.
When we think of stuff, most of us think of physical things, but what about mental clutter? The reason Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day wasn’t because he was trying to become a minimalist or a monk, he just wanted a few less decisions to make every day. He wanted to reduce mental clutter.
Reducing mental clutter is simply following a daily practice to clear our mind allowing us to focus on what’s truly important. Our minds are actually trickier than a cluttered basement or apartment because, unlike inanimate objects, your brain constantly responds to outside stimulus like email, notifications on our phone, “service now” lights in our cars, “upgrade today” alerts for every piece of software on our computers. Think of it like a warehouse full of smoke detectors whose batteries are going dead randomly one at a time constantly beeping at us requiring us to find and fix the complaining piece of technology.
This gets at the core of simplification. If we can slowly and steadily reduce the number of inanimate objects, devices, media outlets, emails and stuff that will (ever) require our attention we will free up time to focus on our families, our health, our experiences and what’s important to us. When we use our smartphones and tablets it will be on our terms, distraction free.
Here are 8 habits that will have lasting benefits and reduce mental clutter. [Read more…] about Spring cleaning for the mind.