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Empty the Junk Drawer of Your Mind

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Empty the Junk Drawer of Your Mind

Under that mental clutter lies a powerful new YOU!
John F. Demartini
John F. Demartini More by this author
Jul 28, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Here’s an exercise I call “distraction resolution.” It helps you stay focused on what’s important while heightening your congruency between activities and values, as well as goals.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Make a list of every single thing that’s taking up space and time in your mind, whether it’s personal, business, physical, or financial; anything you did and feel guilty about; or something you need to do a day, week, month, or year from now. Jot down anything that’s distracting you from being present in the here and now.  Follow your stream of consciousness and clear it out of your mind by writing it down.
  • Once you’re done—not while you’re writing, but after you’ve spent about ten minutes getting it all out—look at the list you’ve created and see if there’s anything in there that’s junk. Ask yourself. Is there anything here that I can’t do anything about? Is there anything in my head that I can just get rid of?
  • Now consider if there’s anyone whom you can delegate the remainder to. Or are you holding yourself back because you haven’t been exercising the skill of delegation (whether that’s because you’re unskilled or you don’t think there’s anyone who can handle this for you)? You’ll be surprised by how many things you’re doing that are actually low priority—and that you could be delegating to someone else. Who could do this instead? Put that person’s initials next to the item.
  • If there are things there for you to do—things that you know would be best done by you, and you know that you can do something about them—write your initials beside them and assign a date for beginning that item. Be realistic, and if it’s a long-term project, go ahead and chunk it down into smaller pieces, and decide to delegate or date those pieces for yourself.

The follow-up is simple: Once you’ve noticed the things that can be dumped, it’s easy to just “take them out” of your mind. And if you find yourself thinking about them again, you can remind yourself: Oh yeah, that was one of those things that I’m not going to do anything about. Next! Then you can delegate those items you’ve chosen to, and you can integrate your own tasks and projects into whatever scheduling system you already use. Then you can forget about all those items and focus on what’s important to do today.

This is the difference between efficiency and effectiveness: Efficiency means getting everything done that needs doing in a timely and professional manner, and effectiveness means doing only those things that are important enough to get done. You can have both if you (1) align your activities, values, and goals; (2) delegate everything that wouldn’t wisely be done by you; and (3) dump anything that’s just “junk.” With this exercise, you identify distractions, dumps, delegations, do’s, and dates. You clear your mind and create congruency between your actions and dreams.

About Author
John F. Demartini
Dr. John Demartini is a human behavioural specialist, educator, author and founder of the Demartini Institute, a private research and education institute with a focus on empowering individuals and organizations and transforming micro and macro social Continue reading