They say an organized room is the sign of an organized mind, and vice versa. So, if your resolutions for the year include getting more organized, you may want to start with your brain. These ten items are the perfect place to start!
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Keep Written Lists
Trying to remember a lot of things, whether it’s a grocery list, task list, or anything else, takes up valuable resources in your brain. And, though you may not be aware of it, trying to keep it all in your head also causes stress. Instead, write everything down. You can use pen and paper. Try our To-Do List or a digital notes app, like Simplenote. Plus, there’s the added satisfaction of getting to cross off or delete items as they’re complete.
Quit Trying to Multitask
Here’s the harsh truth; our brains are not designed for multitasking. We are physiologically incapable of it. Your employer may not like this, but there’s no getting around the science. Aside from thinking and breathing, our brains cannot do more than one thing at a time. When you’re “multitasking,” what you’re really doing is switching your brain’s focus back and forth between multiple things and expecting your brain to remember where you were on each thing when you get back to it. This requires more energy and actually wastes time because your brain needs to reorient to each item. Instead, do one thing until it’s complete and then move on to the next whenever possible.
Mindfulness may seem like a fad word right now, but it’s much more than that. It’s also much more than meditation. It’s a way of being, of focusing on each moment and what you’re doing without judgment. There are many books and other resources to help you shift to being more mindful. One we like is this 365-day journal. Each day has a different, small, mindfulness action you can take and space to record your thoughts and observations.
Turn Off the Tech
In today’s society, we’re constantly connected—computers, tablets, smartphones, etc. We can be almost anywhere and have a constant stream of information flowing at us. While this may seem like a good thing, our brains aren’t wired for it. They need a break. Just like those tech devices start acting wonky when they need a reboot, so do our brains. Turn off the tech and give your devices and your brain a much-needed rest.
Schedule and Take Breaks
Using your brain at a high rate uses energy, and just like the rest of your body, your brain has a limited amount of energy it can use before it needs a break. If you spend a full day working in a fast-paced environment without pause, you’ll be much less efficient at the end than you are at the beginning. Take breaks throughout the day and use the time to do something you find enjoyable to refresh.
Put Stuff in the Same Place
You’ve probably heard the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.” There’s a reason people live by this adage. There’s a part of the brain called the hippocampus that associates stuff with a place, much like how a squirrel knows where it hid nuts. So, if you put your keys on the same hook or same spot on the counter every day, your brain will immediately go there to find them. On the other hand, if you toss your keys randomly each day, you’ll likely spend a lot of time looking for them the next time you need them, which creates unneeded stress.
Use a Password Manager
It seems like everything these days requires a login and password, and for safety, it’s recommended that each one is different. Trying to remember them all and which accounts they’re for would be very taxing for your brain. Instead, try using a password manager like LastPass.
Use a Calendar or Planner
Whether it’s the old fashioned pencil and paper kind or some type of digital calendar, making use of one is a great way to stay organized and free up space in your brain. Keep track of your appointments, meetings, and important dates like birthdays and paydays. Your brain will thank you.
Always Be Learning
The human brain continues to reshape itself throughout our lifetime. Anytime you learn something new, your brain creates new connections, which change the structure of the part of your brain that’s being engaged. By keeping your mind active and learning something new, you’re actually growing your brain.
Sleep is vital to brain function. When we don’t get enough sleep, we see the impacts on concentration, coordination, mood, and memory. While the optimum amount of sleep varies a bit from person to person, it’s generally accepted that adults should get at least seven hours. That amount increases the younger a person is, with newborns needing at least 14.
Trying to implement all of these at once may be a bit overwhelming. So, pick one or two and get comfortable with them and then add on from there. By the end of a few months or so, you’ll be more organized inside and out, and you’ll be less stressed.