Today we’re talking about how to help your mind feel happy, clear, and light. Last year, I was sick for a few months and had to simplify things. There was a lot going on for all of us, and I was waking up feeling like I didn’t have the energy to do anything—but at the same time, I didn’t want to keep going the way we were going.
I went through an incredibly helpful process of reducing my cognitive load, and in case you’d like to do the same thing (which I HIGHLY recommend!), I want to tell you how I did it.
The podcast will walk you through the process (hit the “play” button above), but here’s a brief synopsis in case you only have time to skim:
(1) I went through our home and got rid of everything that was physically draining me.
There was a shirt I hated in my closet, but felt like I should keep because I paid for it
We had a bunch of knick knacks in our kitchen drawers, so I put some in the donation pile and moved others to the basement/organized them a different way.
I cleared out stacks of papers from my filing cabinet.
I took action on items that were waiting for me to “do” something about them. For example, I had an out-of-date calendar hanging in my bathroom that I didn’t want to throw away because I loved the family photos on it. I decided to cut out the pictures and tape them inside my closet with painters’ tape so I can enjoy them each morning. (Here’s a quick photo!)
And I made a little list of every room/area of our home so I could go through 2-3 spots per week until I could walk around the home and everything “belonged.” (This took a few months because I was recovering from an illness while I did it, but we also have a whole podcast about decluttering the house in a month that we’ll link at the bottom.)
(2) I asked myself a few questions:
- What do I want to start/stop?
- What am I hungry for?
- What do I want to say with my life?
(3) I went through my brainstorms of projects and dreams and goals and moved pretty much everything to “Someday/Incubation.”
Then I did a lot of thinking, journaling, talking with Eric, talking with friends, etc. and came up with a SIMPLER, visual, one-page vision of what I actually want to accomplish in the next 5 years. (You know it’s “right” when it lifts you—and feels exciting, but doesn’t feel hard. It’s that sweet spot…)
(4) I strictly reduced the amount of time I spend in email, social media, or on news sites.
Using the Streaks App for a few days, I gave myself four chances each day to check my email—and then I let myself go into social media for about 10 minutes and news sites for 5. Then whenever I felt the need to “check my phone,” I either did creative work in Evernote and Asana OR I read eBooks/listened to audio books, texted loved ones, and used my phone to move my goals forward. When my phone use gets under control, it feels like time expands. 🙂
(5) I committed to staying focused, prioritizing my health and my family, and taking control of my life.
I wish I could accept every invitation that is extended to me. And I really don’t like to say no to anything. But now, when an opportunity opens, I ask, “Is this in line with the vision I’m pursuing?”
Some things ARE. Like my “Fun Mom Certification” my friend Amy did (see the link below). And I found some new books that helped me think in a new way. Eric and I also started some new projects together.
But my brain feels light and happy and excited about life again—and I want the same for you!
Assess your current cognitive load and see if there are some things you can do to make it feel lighter!