8 Tips for Mental Decluttering

If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?   – Laurence J. Peter

Decluttering seems to be going around these days. Is spring cleaning fever? It the idea that simplicity and less is more that is increasingly present in people’s conversations? Does it matter?

People I encounter, from friends, family, clients and colleagues, it seems we are all decluttering, physically, and I dare say mentally/emotionally too.  The common thread for the folks I am connected with is wanting a clean well light space (Thank you for that lovely phrase Mr. Hemingway), in their homes, their offices, the lives. Once we have those clean well light spaces, its is easier to breath, to think, to focus on what not only needs to be done but also what we want to do. The stuff mucking up the works are gone. The physical decluttering, well I wrote about that not too long ago, but what about mental declutter- that is getting your inner-workings cleaned up and neat.

1. Know your most sacredly held values, your personal bottom line of what you will not compromise and use these to help clear away the other stuff. It is easy to get swept up in the thoughts, wants and priorities of others. And sometimes we need to, but not always. If you know hold sacred your values, no one else will either.

2. Be mindful.  Practice being present in your present moment- shift back to manual from autopilot- and check in with what is going on around you and in you. Be deliberate in what you choose to do, experience and react.

3. Ask yourself “W.A.I.T.?” Why am I talking? Silence can be a magical thing offering a place to rest, to reflect, to be inspired, or gain some clarity and insight.

4. Take a break. Yes, stop and take a break. Our bodies are made to work in cycles. So if you have been at something for 90 to 120 minutes, take a short break do something not at all related to the task at hand, then start again. You need to recharge you batteries- we all do.

5. Prioritize, then cut your list in half or even a third. I like to think I can take on an awful lot some days. And I can, but the results are not always desirable.  And guess what? Most of us don’t multitask as well as we imagine we do. Focus on what is most crucial to get done in a day, do it well. And if there is room to done more – hurrah that’s a bonus.

6. Step away from the electronic distractions. My motto for email is “You can have a quick response or a good response, your pick.” Personally I would rather give a good response.

7. Don’t forget to breath. I mean activity take some deep, lung filling, oxygen coursing through your blood, bone and muscle breaths. In. Out. In. Out.  It’s calming. It’s clearing.

8. Make a clean well lighted place for yourself. What ever that means for you. Super minimalist glass desk with 1 pad of paper, 1 pen, 1 lamp… or an arm chair with a foot stool, near the southeastern window with a simple side table… or an architect’s table place where you can see your favorite picture. A place where you can think unencumbered by distractions, but is inspiring and calming for you.

Try these tips and see if some of the internal clutter does go away. I’d love to hear your tips on how you declutter your mind and heart.


2 thoughts on “8 Tips for Mental Decluttering

  1. Great blog! I find that I can declutter my mind and my heart by spending some quiet time alone in prayer and meditation. My life is so busy and so full that those moments of quiet are so refreshing and energizing. I am able to get the truly important things in focus and let my thoughts and mind quit fretting about the “small” stuff!

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