A disorganized mind can stifle creativity and productivity as well as lead to undue stress. In such a mind-space, everyday dilemmas can seem out of control and tasks at hand can feel overwhelming. In this state we tend to lose a precious amount of time dealing mostly with secondary matters and even issues of non-importance. Many times, when feeling the effects of a disorganized thought pattern, we may have a tendency to become impulsive and forgetful.
So, what is there to do about it? How do we clear the clouds of confusion and finally feel productive when chasing our goals, setting a plan in motion, and tackling day to day tasks? That’s what we’re going to get into here because if there’s one thing all creatives have in common it’s the issue of how to keep our thoughts sorted and projects on track.
So, on that note, I’ve compiled a short list of tips for helping creatives to better organize their head-space. These are in no particular order, as they each provide important and relevant benefit. I leave it up to you to decide what will best help you get on track; just incorporate into your space and routine whatever feels most right for you now.
Sorry, I know not everyone likes to get this advice. However, we all know it’s true that exercise gets the blood pumping which supports brain health along with physical we-being. Beyond that, it’s a great way to get your mind off all the noise and help you to refocus your attention on things of priority. Regular exercise is known to reduces stress, improves learning and memory, and it also helps to clear the mind of cluttered thinking. You may do best to think of exercise as a moving meditation. Just ask any runner.
See this Article about How Exercise Alters Brain Health.
Spend Time in Natural Spaces
You may have heard people talk about how camping helps them to reset internally or how walking barefoot in the grass makes them feel happy? Well, there are many examples out there, a lot of them backed by scientific study, about how spending time with nature can benefit a person’s psychological and emotional health. Aligning ourselves with natural spaces tends to help us feel more connected and tuned-in. It has shown to help improve mood, increase clarity of mind, reduce stress, and renew energetic state. It’s even been said to boost a person’s immunity.
See this Article about How Spending Time in Nature is Beneficial.
Talk Out Loud
Talk out loud about something, either to yourself or in conversation with someone else. Talking out loud has been shown to help improve concentration on and performance of individual tasks, effectively giving us more cognitive control over a situation. There are actually several studies that show how talking actually leads to improved mental performance, which helps to explain why people who are quite successful at what they do usually can be caught talking to themselves while hard at work.
And, have you ever noticed that when you discuss something that’s on your mind with someone else how it can often lead to further insights you seemed incapable of reaching while in your own head? This is because of various factors; one is that our inner talk is less controlled and focused – when we say things out loud to someone we make more of an effort to formulate those thoughts, which helps to clarify meaning for us. Another aspect of this is when we engage in conversation we encounter the responses of another perspective, which can help us to see things we wouldn’t have ordinarily thought to consider.
See this article as one example of how Talking to Yourself has been shown to be beneficial.
Listen to Classical Music
We’ve all heard how listening to Classical Music can help make us smarter and more productive. But have you ever actually considered it more closely? There have been a couple of studies that suggest when listening to classical music in the background during or prior to a task, people become more receptive to information and experience boosts in memory function. In another, more controversial but nevertheless interesting, study it was noted that:
“Researchers explained that classical music is believed to enhance the brain’s spatial temporal reasoning, or the cognitive understanding of how items or pieces can fit into a space.”
In addition to improving memory, classical music is known to lower anxiety and even pain levels. It also opens an emotional conduit for better self-awareness, thereby potentially leading to higher creativity.
See this article about some of the noted benefits of Listening to Classical Music.
Bring Nature Inside
Bringing some plants inside does several things to help us be more productive. In addition to improving air quality, which plants naturally do wherever they are, plants introduced into home and work environments have shown to be motivational and de-stressing. Something about the mere presence of greenery in your environment – it tends to engage the psyche and improve mood, leading to more involvement with others and higher energy when concentrating on tasks at hand. Plants have been shown to increase attention span, connect us with our space, and
lead to more efficiency in action.
See this article that reveals some of the Power of Plants being introduced into work spaces.
Write Down Your Thoughts and Break Up Tasks
Making lists helps to categorize your thoughts and turn them into action steps for productivity. But more than this, writing your thoughts down about what needs to be addressed works to free up your conscious thought stream… essentially giving you permission to let go of the connected parts of a goal and focus on a singular aspect unhindered by the external details. In this way, the simple act of making to-do lists and writing down objectives helps to improve your overall performance on tasks. It also works to turn those more abstract ideas into concrete tasks with a set plan of action. And, each time you look at a list, you re-focus your mind on those specific objectives – this reinforces that information within your short-term memory.
- Did you know the short term memory can only hold seven pieces of information at one time for up to thirty seconds? In order to nudge those ideas into your long term memory, you must do something to reinforce it – like writing it down, grouping portions of it into smaller chunks of information, or find a way to hold it in your thought for longer than thirty seconds by using methods of spoken or written repetition.
Rather than multitask, carve out smaller sets of time for shifting focus from one task to another. This will help to keep your energy level higher and your focus greater while working on each task. For instance, say you
have to cook dinner, write a chapter, and create a graphic by a certain time – try breaking it up and switching off in order to keep productivity up. (put dinner in the oven and for the time it takes to cook, create the graphic, then have dinner and come back to write the chapter)
It’s been shown that giving the brain smaller chunks of time to focus on one thing and taking more frequent breaks actually helps to increase a person’s level of productivity as well as creativity.
See this article about how Taking breaks Helps Your Brain.
Utilize Mind-Mapping Strategies
Have you ever used mind maps in the generation of ideas or for coming up with task strategies? I mean, outside of high school assignments? It’s a popular technique with writers who need to create new characters or come up with a series of sub-topics. But, mind mapping is a useful implementation for many other things like goal setting, business planning, and drawing connections between ideas or bringing hidden aspects of a plan into focus. As the practice of drawing out steps or aspects of an idea utilizes both sides of the brain simultaneously, mind mapping has been shown to improve recall, encourage creative thinking, help generate new ideas (brainstorming!), and gain a clearer perspective on the topic at hand.
See this article about Why Mind Mapping Works.
Put Devices To Rest
In our technological world today, we seem to be constantly faced with a multitude of distractions. While it can sometimes be useful to plunge into a healthy distraction in order to keep the mind sharp and energy up, too many constant distractions can can actually be draining. Try spending dedicated chunks of time with devices turned off and put away. See how much more you are able to achieve when you lower your ability to reach for the nearest technological and social distraction. Our minds need time away from the excess noise of social media and blue screens. Doing this periodically helps us to reset focus, harness clarity, and take control of our own direction.
See this article about how the mere presence of your device can Reduce Brainpower.
Here are a few other tips for helping to keep thoughts in order and staying on task:
- Take breaks when working, but don’t let distractions take you too far off task.
- Be sure to get enough rest and pay attention to your internal clock; eat when you need to and take time to meditate during times of fatigue.
- Eat well – pay attention to your nutrition and take vitamins if you need to so your body can maintain energy and your brain can maintain focus.
- Keep a clean space – a cluttered and disorganized physical environment can make the mind feel cluttered and disorganized.
- Organized space = organized mind… lessen distractions and side-tasks by designating portions of your space for particular items that are frequently utilized.
- Write those persistent thoughts down and record related thoughts alongside them.
- Breathe fresh air, expose yourself to sunlight, and remember to stand, stretch, and take time to move around if your work keeps you stationary for extended periods of time.
I hope this information will help you to keep an organized mind and stay on track to completing your projects and achieving your goals! Be sure to take a look at the related article: How to Activate Your Natural Creativity-8 Best Strategies!
Do you have any other strategies for keeping a clear head, staying on point with your projects, and planning goals? Let us know about it in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.