Did you ever have one of those days where you feel like you’re in a fog, like you can’t think straight? Have you ever wondered why you feel exhausted even though you got a good night’s sleep? Did you ever begin a conversation and halfway through forget why you were telling the story in the first place? What about not knowing if you forgot to shut the garage door on your way to work?

What could all these situations possibly have in common?   The solution might just be in your head…

Mental clutter. It interferes with our ability to get things done and to enjoy life. Mental clutter is the accumulation of recurring, ideas and thoughts. It fills up much needed space in our minds and limits our focus on what we should be accomplishing. Forgetting important dates, doctor appointments and deadlines. Not knowing if you remembered to shut the oven off on your way to the airport. Trying to get your point across and stumbling over thoughts and words. The feeling of being overwhelmed or distracted prevents us from starting each day with a clear head and a fresh state of mind. When our head is not clear we slowly start disconnecting from ourselves, our lives, and the people that surround us. Mental clutter makes us off balance and at times overwhelmed or stressed.

How do you clear away clutter from your mind? By looking at where you place most of your attention and how you spend your time and energy.

First, assess your situation. Sit quietly and try to clear your mind. Whatever pops into your head, jot it down on a piece of paper. Writing your thoughts out on paper will help lessen the ongoing chatter inside your head.

Next, sort through your mental clutter into groups based on how you intend to process it. After, start preparing a clear direction for your actions and a timeline for resolving each issue. Remember, once you resolve an issue, the clutter in your mind lessens, so learn to let it go and move on. For example, if you have forgiven someone, do your best to never mention the situation again.

Obviously mental clutter will happen now and again in life. Learning ways to prevent clutter from becoming overwhelming is important. Look for physical signs, such as if the space surrounding you seems chaotic, it might be a sign your inner space is out of balance too. Keep a journal so you can let the small, daily, emotional clutter go. Make a point to control your clutter by scheduling a specific time each day to think about the things you can’t control. For example, say to yourself that you are going to focus on finishing up the presentation for work now and on the car ride home you will think about the other situation that keeps popping into your mind. Incorporate habits into your daily life that will help you identify mental clutter at the start so you can easily turn your attention to something more meaningful.

Remember, you get to decide what fills your head and shapes your thoughts. Only you can clear the distractions and focus instead on what matters most to you. The result is well worth the effort!