Last Updated on December 27, 2019
Ever feel like your brain is on overload? Like you can’t think clearly or make decisions easily? Stuck in circles going nowhere? If so, you might be dealing with a serious case of mental clutter.
What exactly is mental clutter? Well, my friend, mental clutter is when you have so many ideas and thoughts floating around in your head that you have trouble thinking clearly and making decisions.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to get overwhelmed on a daily basis. There’s just so much to do and not enough time to make it happen. The trouble is that we often perceive things as worse than they are because we keep thinking about them instead of taking action to solve our problems. When this happens, you know it’s time for a little mental detox.
Just as we declutter our homes and physical spaces, it’s also important to declutter your mind. When we free up some headspace, we’re able to feel calmer, think more clearly, and stay focused on our next move (whether it’s a life-changing decision or a small to-do list item).
In this post, I’m sharing five ideas to help you deal with mental clutter, reduce decision fatigue, and give yourself some headspace!
5 Ways To Declutter Your Mind
Watch the video here or read the full post below!
1. Get clear on your priorities
Reduce decision fatigue by getting clear on what’s important to you. Maybe it’s family, friends, and work. Maybe it’s self-care, creativity, and comfort. Like the great Leslie Knope once said, “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
Whatever your priorities are, use them to help you make decisions and eliminate the mental clutter that comes from trying to decide what to focus on.
Related Post: How To Figure Out Your Priorities
2. If it’s not a clear yes, it’s a no
One of the greatest quotes that has been instilled in my brain since I read it is this one by Gregory McKeown in his (incredible) book, Essentialism:
If it isn’t a clear yes, it’s a clear no.
This may seem like a ruthless way to make decisions, especially since eliminating all of the ‘maybes’ from our lives might actually limit our opportunities. But if you are someone who spends *way too much* time trying to make decisions, try listening to whether your intuition is telling you if something is a yes or a no. For example, try this method when you’re deciding whether to keep an item of clothing, buying something new, or accepting an invitation to an event.
Related Post: Planning vs. Flowing: How To Find The Right Balance
3. Create a system for ideas
Let’s say that your beautiful, amazing brain is filled to the brim with ideas. You have SO many ideas and thoughts and dreams that you don’t know what to do with them. They’re overwhelming you more than helping you. What can you do to make sure you save all of that goodness but still make room for some headspace? Start by creating a system for storing your ideas. Whether you store them in Evernote, a physical notebook, Google Drive, or the notes app of your phone, stick to one place where you will always know where to find them. The next time an idea pops into your head, save it to your dedicated place right away.
4. Consume information mindfully
Because of the amount of time we spend online, we end up consuming a lot of new information on a daily basis. Some of it is useful, but a lot of it simply clutters our brains with unnecessary details. Of course it’s important to constantly learn new things, but it’s more important to put that information to good use. If you learn something new, avoid letting it clutter up your brain by telling someone about it, writing about it in a blog post or journal, or storing it in your ideas folder (see the previous tip).
Related Post: How I Survived A Month With Only One Browser Tab Open
5. Don’t be afraid to let go
Give your brain some space by freeing it up regularly. Be willing to let go and not react to every little idea or thought you have, and make time in your schedule to get rid of whatever’s cluttering up your mind. Most nights, I’ll make a list of everything that’s floating around in my head (often called a brain dump), and I find this helps me sleep better and wake up with a clearer mind.
Related Post: How To Start Your Day With Clarity And Focus
How do you deal with mental clutter?
I hope these five tips have helped you figure out how to free up some space in your head. After all, your mind is a brilliant place, and it deserves a little breathing room!
This is something I’ve really been trying to work on. I love using Google Keep to store my list of ideas and things to do. I’ve found that it’s best to get them right out of my head to make room to think clearly. Thank you for sharing!
I’ve actually never heard of Google Keep, so I think I’ll have to check that out! Thanks for sharing, Chelsea!
This is post has SO many brilliant ideas. I have a journal just for brain dumps; it’s filled with doodles, to do lists, random thoughts and really keeps me sane. I’m off to read your post about planning vs flowing next!
I LOVE that you have a notebook just for brain dumps! That’s a solid idea. Thanks for reading, Pia! xo
Your tipps are so helpful! I try to use a journal for all of my ideas, because they are in my head all the time! And I love the leslie knope quote so much! :D
In general your blog was a big inspiration for me in the last months, but I’m a silent reader, because I always think that my english sucks to much to write a comment. Haha :D but I’m trying.
Aww Phine, thank you so much for commenting! Your English is wonderful!
Ooh I like that ‘if it’s not a clear yes it’s a clear no.’ That definitely makes decision making easier. And I feel like often we know what our gut is telling us to do but we hesitate a bit or are swayed by other opinions. I definitely have a billion things swirling in my brain and need to declutter right now.
Yesss, I really think we need to listen to our gut instinct more, whatever the initial thought or feeling may be. When we second guess ourselves, that’s when it gets complicated.
I totally relate to the feeling of having a cluttered mind and getting easily overwhelmed on the daily! Having a dedicated place for random ideas is super helpful, especially because I’m always overflowing with them! I like what you said about consuming information mindfully…I’ve always thought the more you know the better, which is true to some extent, but I see how it can lead to unnecessary brain clutter!
Mia | http://www.verymuchmia.com
This was written for me haha! I love your tips, I’m looking forward to trying these. And i love your Parks and Rec reference :D
I feel like I really need to sit down with myself and make a list of what I do and don’t want, goal wise. I feel like I have so much on my mind that is’s just gone blank because it doesn’t even know where to start!
Cloe X http://clxelouise.blogspot.com
I need to make a mental check up from time to time, when I realize my mind is was too foggy and I can focus on what I want. This intention mindset has resonated with me much more than the material-focused minimalism.
Couldn’t agree more with number 4, my mind gets so cluttered all the time mainly because I’m addicted to consuming information. Thank you for your post, it’s very helpful!
I think #5 is the one I need to practice more often. I often have a hard time getting to sleep because I am ruminating over everything I didn’t complete that I feel like I have to get done the next day. I like the idea of the ‘brain dump’ where I can start writing down my ideas and get them out of my head and focus on it at a later time.
Great post! I recently started doing a ‘brain dump. It really does help me keep a clear-head.
I like to introduce small and simple rituals into my day. Even as part of my work, I will do things like put on a certain article of clothing when I am about to start some demanding task. Part of it comes from 13 years as a helicopter pilot in the Navy.
The ritual of putting on your survival vest, and preflighting the aircraft transitions your mindset from the ground to the air. i often do the same type of things today even when I never leave the ground.
Very good tips! I have been trying to work on this issue I have, and slowly but surely I am getting there. Your article will definitely help.