A Simple Strategy to Keep Your Mind Clear

clear your mind

 Concentrate the mind on the present moment.
-Buddha

A Simple Strategy to Keep Your Mind Clear

 

Some days we live in our minds more than in the world in front of us.

What tends to happen is we think about the wrong things at the wrong time.

We lose focus and in doing so we neglect the beautiful moments in front of us.

Sitting on the beach but thinking about work.

When we are out with friends but stuck in our minds.

Or on a date but internally at home.

The busier our lives are the more active our minds tend to be.

What’s worse our minds can only hold so much information.

The same thoughts seem to come up over and over.

For some of us it almost self destructs and some people experience anxiety or other ailments.

I have practiced meditation for years and while it has helped me keep my mind clear most of the time, what I am about to share is one of the best things I have done to keep my mind clear.

Its really simple as well, which is what I like.

Sometimes it’s just one simple strategy or distinction that can solve a problem, solutions don’t always need to be complex.

 

Just carry a small notebook with you at all times.

Something that can fit in your purse or pocket.

When an important thought comes up, just write it down.

Not every thought, but if you are at work and have a good thought about something you should do at home, write it down and vice-versa.

This really helps with work and life balance and being able to focus where you are at the present moment.

Some of our best thoughts come to us in the most unexpected times.

In the shower or driving are two of the most common.

I have heard of people with waterproof writing boards in the shower, but I am not saying we need to go that far.

Who knows maybe that will help you.

Just write down everything important that comes up.

Clear your mind by getting it out of your head and then refocus on what you are doing.

 

Now I know you may think, well what should I do with all the notes I have written down?

I personally have another notebook at home.

I have it broken down into different parts of my life that are important to me.

Most any thought I have fits into one of those categories.

I then empty my little notebook into the corresponding sections.

They then become to do lists of sorts.

Then each week I look at all the thoughts or actions and choose a few that I would like to do.

Not randomly, I choose based on where I am headed and what I want to achieve in my life.

I will also choose an action simply if it is exciting to me.

Choose based on your own criteria of what you want to do and where you want to go in life.

This will change the game from spectator to becoming a creator.

 

I could go into more detail but I want to keep it simple.

Simple says, get a small notebook and clear your mind as often as possible.

Then just remember that each thought has a place in your life, work, home, health, relationships ect.

Write it where you will remember and if it is important schedule time to work on it.

If your mind knows you will get to it than it will stop pestering you.

So it is important to empty you pocket notebook as often as you can.

When I started doing this I had about five to ten things a day to write down and I was glad I had my little notebook.

These days I might have three important thoughts to get out of my head.

And I am still really happy to have my notebook.

It’s working, my mind is clear and when it is, I am able to focus a lot more on what I am doing in the moment.

I hope it works for you too.

Please let me know if you have any questions below.

Thank you for being here.

-Burton

10 Comments

  • Hi friend,
    Well, does this post comes in at exactly the right time for me or what? I think I told you, I do not believe in coincidences, everything is meant to be….Lately my mind is working too hard, thinking about and enjoying too many things at once, I get a little bit hyper of it…you know, too little sleep and so on…I need to learn to dose….and I think this tip of carrying a little notebook is a precious practical one!
    I tried to make a mind-map once, based on this tutorial:
    http://www.art-is-fun.com/create-a-mind-map.html
    [Great website by the way! It also has a great sister site, called The Art Community. You can find me there...]
    It did make the ‘big life picture’ clear to me at that time, your idea of this little notebook is more convenient for daily use, but I felt I needed to share the idea….
    What I also do practice is to make things-to-do-lists…it helps to make things clear in my mind as well as it feels so satisfying if I can cross out some task I did finish…
    And for the nights my thoughts keep going around in circles, I have a writing pad next to my bed to write them down, it helps to calm me down because I do not have to worry I’ll forget something important, so I’ll be able to sleep!
    Btw, I think the term that suites the focus on the present moment, not getting detract by any thoughts, is mindfulness, isn’t it? When you do the dishes, feel the warm water, see how your kitchen is getting cleaner and emptier, hear the sound of the plates…
    You me laugh by saying one shouldn’t write every appearing thought down, I got this picture in mind of someone raging around and in the same time write on everything he can….quit foolish LOL!
    CU Burton! Btw, I send you a PM at FB!

    • Hey friend, Thanks for sharing the link to the mind map. I have done those before for business and personal use and I agree they help to put things in perspective. However, I continue to find that simpler is better. The more simple it is to do something the more likely we will do it and create a habit that lasts. A pen and small notepad is very simple and it’s a great start for remembering the important things.

      Yes focusing on the present moment is called mindfulness. But to do it consistently is very challenging. I mean the next time you eat something try to slow down and with one bite feel all the sensations that are going on. If you do this you will notice it is quite different than what we do most of the time.

      I hope the notebook idea works for you. As a matter of fact I know it will. The trick is to empty it from time to time and then work on the things you know you should or want to. Pretty soon your mind knows you are listening and wont try to impede as much. Try it for a week and let me know about your progress. I know you can do it and if it makes a significant impact in your life than great. If not than it was just one week of looking a little foolish when you pulled out your notebook in the line at the grocery store. Or something like that. Just keep on going.

      Yeah, imagine trying to write down every thought. We would have a full set of encyclopedias by Christmas. I replied to your PM earlier today. Just keep in mind I don’t get on FB too often. But I am more than happy to help in any way I can. Thanks so much for your consistent participation here. Two is always better than one and I appreciate our conversations. Have a great day.

      -Burton

  • Hey Burton!

    Good tip, I try to do this but am not always very consistent :) I have a small notebook for my blog notes but if its non-blog related I use my phone or another notebook I have in my purse at any given time to jot down my thoughts. Sticky notes are helpful for mini daily to-do lists that I really need to accomplish. My head is full of jibberish, daily the thoughts keep coming consistently; it’s really draining sometimes. Especially at night when other troubles or concerns lurk, suddenly as tired as one feels one cannot sleep! I meditate on and off but again, consistency isn’t always my strong suit. At least it’s Friday and for that I am happy :)

    Have a great one!
    -Iva

    • Iva,

      So good to hear from you again. Ahhh consistency I think all of us struggle with it from time to time. But think about this, we all brush our teeth everyday. I think the things we want to make consistent we have to make into habits. Try just doing one new thing for thirty days in a row.

      The thing about the notebook is that it is the only place I now write down notes. It prevents me from having notes in many different places. I have one place for all my thoughts and one place for all the things I want to work on. I do keep a notepad on my desk and when I go to work on a project without specific steps I write them down there.For example a blog post idea I will outline on my notepad and then write it. So I have a small, travel friendly notebook. A slightly larger one that I have broken into sections of my life and then a notepad to jot down things if I am working on a project. Thats it.

      The trick is to empty your small notebook from time to time. A few times a week into your larger notebook. If you don’t than your mind will keep giving you the same thoughts over and over. Also know that every emotion has a reason. For example fear and anxiety tell us that we must do something. If you are worried about a project at work than just get up and work on it for a few minutes and see how much better you feel. Yes, I have had sleepless nights but not through worry but action to avoid the worry.

      Lastly, choose one habit and start to work on it daily. For example, write for ten minutes a day or something simple you would like to do. Maybe to start your day with a short walk. Keep this commitment to yourself and in a week or two you will see how proud of yourself you are and that you can be consistent. Then try to do the full thirty days.

      Great to hear from you again,
      -Burton

  • Hi Burton! Ever thought of becoming an e-coach or something like that? You do have so much wisdom and the ability to both explain it as well as understanding others as well…
    I´m gonna try this notebook idea for the next week okay? Promise me to be here for me when I made myself acting ridiculous in public and I need encouragement….lol! No, I do not care too much what other people think about me…the alternative would be I keep telling myself my new insight all over again, that would make an even worse impression to the audience…Hope indeed there will no encyclopedia be released this year, at least not from my hand…

    …Every emotion has a reason…beautifully said Burton…and I think it often works this way, emotions or feelings do have a function (besides making us human beings). But not always. Sometimes our feelings are created by our own thoughts. And those thoughts do not always have to be correct…For example someone can be very nervous about bringing a message to another, because he thinks the other will not understand or becoming angry at him or will make a foll of him. It can hold him back if that nervous, insecure feeling prevails the need to bring the message. But if one should try to bring the message anyway, the experience may be, the other does understand, will not get angry or making a fool. So if you tell this to yourself: ´I do not know how the other will react´, you may calm your nerves and step into it with more confidence, which will of course increase the potential success. It is a way of seeing things I like to share with my clients or kids.

    And Iva, I do recognize your consistency issue. Not only because I do not want to change a habit, but sometimes I simply forget about it when the new day raises…And about nightly concerns, maybe a notebook next to your bed will help to clean your mind? It does for me!

    See you both soon!
    Desiree

    • Thanks for such an excellent comment. First, I am not sure if I would ever be a e-coach or life coach. Although I have not ruled it out. Thank you for saying that my explanations are made in simple to understand terms. I think that is important. Sometimes people get detached from what others are going through. Yes they may have overcome something similar but it never feels the same in hindsight.

      Yes, I will be here if anything goes wrong with the notebook things. Of course. I like that you mentioned you will never know how someone else will react. So true. On the flipside when discussing something with someone we can also ease the burden by understand them the best we can. The more we know about them, the more likely we will be able to think of some things that will be good for them in the discussion. Most people think, whats in it for me? If we can help answer that question than the conversation may be a little easier. Either way great point and explanation.

      Thanks for the great tip for Iva. I have personally never had consistent issue with going to sleep. Maybe one night every few months. So your wisdom is truly helpful. As with everything you have contributed here, I cannot thank you enough.

      Till next time,
      _Burton

      Keep me posted on the notebook thing and do stick with it for the week. You can do it.

  • Hey Burton! I did not know we were notebook siblings! I have carried around a small notebook in my pocketbook for years for this purpose. I also add similar things to my to do list on my phone and syncs up with my calendar. It’s a great way to let go of the thought at the moment to help you focus on what you really want to be doing. It’s also a great resource to look at when you’re stuck!

    Simple and helpful!

    • Yeah, I guess we are notebook siblings. I haven’t been doing this as long as you but it is so nice to hear it has been working for you for a long time. Thanks for sharing the phone and calendar tip as I am sure it may be helpful to others. For me I like to keep it analog as much as possible. Thanks so much for sharing your story and insight. Your awesome. Talk soon.
      _Burton

  • You are welcome Burton, I mean what I say. Maybe it also has something to do with the fact you are a teacher, you are able to talk about sometimes difficult subjects in such a clear way…? But indeed, it is more important to have the ability to empathize in the other. I know it is also one of my pitfalls, thinking what the other one is going through, because I did have a same kind of experience, I tend to think that what works for me, will also works for the other, in psychological terms it is called projection. Good you mentioned it, I have to be aware of it more…

    And I also agree it will be much easier to contact each other if we try to understand instead of going just for our own goals. I think that is the point where a lot of argues get started, to be blind for the feelings or reasons of the other, just hold to your own opinion. This is also a weakness of me…Sometimes it feels like I am failing if I ‘loose’ a discussion or I just hold on to my point, even if I know the other is right…too proud to admit it… Good insights you showing me here Burton! I’ll keep it in mind next time I am in a discussion….

    Btw, besides the idea of a little notebook, you also mentioned you do have a list of habits you want to keep or be aware of on your laptop or something…I guess that is also a good one for me….Thanx again!

    And about my posts here, I really do love to write in English, to think about these major subjects and to get such great and inspiring comments as a reward….It is also flattering you judge my words as wise or inspirational, but for me, it is just doing what I love… I write how things work for me, how I think and feel about these items and try to explain what I’ve learn and experienced through the years. It is nice to be reminded of some things I almost had forgotten of to become aware of some things that have become a kind of a habit, a routine…It is like my interns asking me why I do something, sometimes I really have to think why, because it is such an automatism, I am not really aware of what I do, I just do it, but is is good to be asked and think about why. But this, in a nutshell, is why I love to be here.
    Till next time!

    • Ohh projection, recently I have had to deal with that more than ever. Some people think that they are right about everything. They think that whatever has worked for them or whatever they think is right. However, I couldn’t agree more that we are all different. What works for some may not work for others. That’s why it is so important to form our own decisions. Because it is usually those decisions that will work for us because they make sense to us.

      In regards to a discussion I have often thought it is best to think about how both people can win. Hard to do as you mentioned we always seem to want to make our own points and be correct. I also try to always the outcome I want in a discussion. This way if things get a little sidetracked I can come back to what it is I wanted to accomplish with this discussion. It just helps to stay focused.

      You know, I express my gratitude for you wisdom because it is truly wise. I think we discussed before that some people can see us better than ourselves. I also noticed that you are just doing what you love by sharing your thoughts and ideas about life. When we are doing what we love it becomes easier to find the flow of life. We just seem to open the fountain that is waiting to release whatever it is holding. It means a lot that you can do that here and I am sure you will find more ways to express yourself as time goes on.

      Your comment reminded me of the importance of the fundamentals in whatever we do. How it is the little things that your interns ask about that create the foundation of you being successful in your career. It’s always great to be reminded of them as they are the building blocks to everything. In this case your profession. But those same fundamentals can be applied to life. Through good habits and consistency. That is generally the foundation to successful living. Forming and making automation out of the ways we want to be as a person. We it is created someone may ask, why are you that way? Our response will remind us of the decisions we made years before. Hope that makes sense.

      Thanks for such a thought provoking comment. Truly from my heart, thank you.

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