Minimizing Mental Clutter

Downsizing physical clutter became a lot easier when I implemented rules about 1) Never buying knickknacks 2) Never buying souvenirs I can’t use. Sticking to these rules has greatly reduced the amount of random shit spread around the house (though I have no excuse for the overflowing dog toys and other pet paraphernalia). However, I’ve seriously been sucking at minimizing my mental clutter or, to be more definitive, minimizing the ridiculous crap bouncing around in my head which keeps me from actually getting shit done.

For example: I’ll have a thought such as Oh! I should write a blog post about whether or not to self-publish! And instead of writing this down and brainstorming about key points for that blog post, I’ll instead let my brain continue wandering. So that first thought is followed by, Hmm. Maybe I should work on my new story instead of blogging. Agh, but I really need to start working on the sequel to my first book. But I should re-read my first book and re-familiarize myself with the characters. Perhaps I should relaunch that first book with a new cover….

…And so on and so forth. Not only is this run-on thought process exhausting, it’s also a major time-suck. I could have simply written that initial blog post by the time I actually decided what to do that day. Gah.

So it’s time to implement some mental clutter minimizing strategies. There are probably loads of ways to do this, but since my 2 rule strategy for minimizing physical clutter worked so well for me, I think I’ll keep this mental clutter strategy just as simple.

Rule 1: Make a to do list and stick to it.

Sounds pretty simple and I’ve implemented this strategy before with so-so results. I think the key here (at least for me) is to make a list of stuff to complete that day. Not what needs to be done that week, or that month, or a bucket list of shit I’d like to get done in my lifetime. No. This is going to be a simple list of what I’d like to get done today.

Rule 2: Tackle the hard stuff first. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a list in the past and then simply completed the stuff that’s the easiest first. This is the procrastinator’s method of putting off the more difficult stuff ’til tomorrow. Or next week. Or, you know, just never doing it. Because as a self-publishing writer, I am the only one who will hold myself accountable. If I’m putting something off, not getting my butt-in-the-chair to write or not marketing my material because I don’t feel like it that day, then I am the only one responsible for my failure.

Alright. Time to stop talking about it and get out there and do it.

Oh hey look! I can mark off one thing from today’s to-do list!

  1. Write a blog post – Done.
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