I’m so thankful I learned how to empty everything out of mind. This tool has given me the ability to declutter my mind with lists, literally!
Have you ever thought about everything you have to get done in a week? Laundry, dishes, dinner, and a little cleaning needs to get done everyday regardless of anything being on the calendar. Not to mention, you need to finish purging your closet and you need to get rid of that pile of stuff staring at you in the master. Wait, that’s probably just me. : )
What about working? Or grocery shopping? Or doing something for fun?
At this point of calling stuff out, I want to put my hand in my face and cry. It seems so overwhelming. It seems too big.
Really, you just need a trick to get everything out of your mind so you can figure out what needs to happen first. Not everything will get done this week. Not everything should get done this week. You need a great working list so you can drive your priorities instead of them driving you.
This process will give you clarity on what needs to happen next. Don’t let your thoughts rattle around in there any longer.
It’s called intentional listing.
1) Make the list.
Essentially, you start with a blank sheet of paper or a set of index cards or post-its and a pen.
You can do this in Trello, Evernote, or your planner but you really don’t have to. A simple paper and pen works nicely. Just make sure you keep your list in a place where you won’t forget.
Thanks Here’s the key, you need to think high level. Think per room, per person, or maybe per type of activity. Don’t dig in deep. Let your mind stay shallow, if you will. What’s the first thing you think about in each category?
Just think about what’s weighing heavy or what needs to be done. Don’t worry if you don’t get everything or in the wrong order. You can always change this later.
Once you have the big picture settled, go through each category and empty out your mind.
For example, if I want to make a spring cleaning list for the whole house I would start with a list of all of my areas. Then I would take the first area and list everything that goes with it. Let’s say my first category is Outside Chores. Then I would list 1) clear the gutters, 2) pressure wash, 3) sweep overhangs and porches, etc.
2) Work your way around the area.
Either go to the space or visualize mentally what needs to be done. Be sure to start at the door and go around. I can easily visualize what needs to be done because most of the stuff has entered my mind at some point and is still in there. That’s the stuff that needs to leave.
This approach is kinda like a wish list. So, empty out all the baggage in your mind whether you can afford it or have the time for it today or not.
Once you take a first stab at this, go back through and add anything else to your list that you need to.
Then, this is the fun part, prioritize your lists. If you need to do the chore and it’s urgent put an A. If you need to do the chore but it would be nice to get done (lower priority) use a B. If you need to delegate or hire someone to complete the task, use D. What’s left should be your Cs (low priority). These are the tasks that if you get all As and Bs done you move to.
Sometimes, I will add number to indicate the most important items – A1, A2, etc.
This is the part where I can take a deep breath. My mind seems to thank me for getting the clutter out and on a sheet of paper.
4) Work 30 Minutes a Day
Are you thinking, what now? Ok, I have a list but I still have no time.
Get a timer, use your phone, or your stove clock. Set it for 30 minutes and work like a maniac. 30 minutes is doable. It’s easy and you have a clear list in front of you. Do one session a day. If you make your self focus on your list and then end, you will love this process. Your mind will see 30 minutes of work as a victory.
If you have a whole Saturday to work, go for it. But when working your list everyday, 30 minutes is all you need.
Here’s a recap.
- Separate your lists by tasks to be done, areas of the home, people, etc.
- Work systematically around the area to record the items that need some attention. Remember, it’s like a wish list.
- Prioritize with A, B, C, or D.
- Work 30 minutes a day on the list. You must focus and you must stop at 30 minutes. This keeps you working hard and gives you a break.
Pretty easy huh?
If you do this you will love it. It will give you a solid plan every time no matter if the task is big or small.
Leave me a comment below if you declutter your mind with lists? What worked? What didn’t?