A Cluttered Mind: How to declutter it and get your ducks in a row

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I have begun working on a new project, which is an online mindfulness course with a twist.  This has given me an opportunity to see how cluttered and unorganized my mind can be when I am doing something that requires deep focus and concentration.  I will share with you some tools and apps that I have discovered to help keep me fixed upon and on target.

 

Todoist:

This simple yet effective app has been the best "productivity" app that I have used since I started Mindful Accord a few years ago.  What I like about Todoist is that it is simple and it works across multiple platforms.  I can use it on my phone, my laptop and it can be used with the chrome browser and Gmail.  It will sync automatically between all of these.  It is an efficient way to organize your thoughts and get them out of your head and into action.  It is much more than a to-do list.  You can get a free version or pay the reasonable $28.00 yearly subscription, to get the premium features such as reminders and notes.

 

Business Calendar 2:

I have used numerous calendar apps on my phone over the years.  The one I finally found that gives the highest usability without being complicated or cumbersome is Business Calendar 2.  I like the layout and ease of use.  It also integrates with Todoist.  It is free, but with a small upgrade fee, you can get access to more features. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it is only available for Android phones.

 

Yoga and the gym:

I am not going to say that I am in the best shape of my life, but I’m doing ok.  I make an effort to go to the gym to lift weights and then go to yoga.  I alternate the days. One day at the gym the next day doing yoga.  Of course, my intentions don’t always become a reality, but I am working on it.  To have a clear, sharp mind, you must make sure your body is in good shape.  The mind-body connection is so intricate, and the majority of it occurs on an unconscious level.  You could spend years studying and understanding the intricacies of your mind and body.  However, I would suggest looking into Yoga.  The practitioners and originators of yoga, which at one time was a secret practice, you had to be initiated, have spent the past several thousands of years exploring the mind, body, and breathe connection.  Take the shortcut or hack as it often called and start doing yoga.

 

Sleep:

The one area that I have had to put a lot of attention towards is making sure I am getting an adequate amount of sleep.  The commonly accepted amount is eight hours a night.  I am comfortable with about seven.  When I don’t get seven hours a night on a consistent basis I begin to notice a few things that don’t help me stay focused.  The lack of sleep negatively affects my thoughts.  When I’m tired and not rested my thoughts tend to be more harmful towards myself and others.

There have been numerous studies within the last few years that have shown that getting the proper amount of non-medicated sleep is critical to our health.  When we are sleeping our brain releases hormones that heal our bodies.  Also, while we are sleeping there are cells that are called microglia which are released into the brain to clean up our synaptic connections.  That is why when you get a good night of sleep your thinking seems clearer.  Health is the first wealth.  If you aren’t getting a proper amount of sleep, you are causing immense damage to your health.

 

Six Times Book:

This practice or method comes from Tibetan Buddhism.  It is basically a daily journal.  A journal that merely allows you to strengthen the positive effect you have on the world and yourself while reducing the adverse impact.  It is not so much a way to help with productivity and focus as it is a method to help you stay on the path.  On the mindfulness, meditation, actively calm and calmly active path.  I am not advocating Buddhism.  However, the Buddhists have been intensely studying the nature of the mind for the past 2,500 years.  I believe they have figured out a few things.  Using the six times book requires dedication.  You have to write in your book first thing in the morning, and then make it the last thing you do before going to bed.  All the while making journal entries at six different times during your day.  You can visit sixtimesbook.com to get further information, and where you can order a journal that they created.  When I first started doing this practice, I would write in my small journal that I would carry around in my pocket.  I find their template to be much better and it helps me stick to the program.

 

Vipassana Meditation or any Meditation:

I believe that everyone should seek some form of meditation that will help them to quiet their minds.  If you haven’t yet started a practice of some kind, then today is the day to start.  The human brain is not designed to make you happy.  It is designed to keep you alive first and foremost above all other activities.  We have to learn to get control of our minds, or it controls us.  Our minds untamed are like wild horses.  You have to train it to go where you want it to.  You have to be the driver instead of the rider.  I have been practicing Vipassana Meditation exclusively since I did the 10-day course in December.  It is deep meditation.  To learn it properly, you need to attend one of the courses.  They are free and are offered around the world.  It requires a lot of commitment and dedication.  The course is challenging.  To find out more about Vipassana visit www.dhamma.org.  For those who are looking to get started with basic meditation I would suggest downloading the app Insight Timer (insighttimer.com).  It is a practical app, and it tracks your progress.  It comes with thousands of guided meditations.

 

If you are beginning a big project that will require you to spin a lot of plates at the same time, I hope this helps you.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord