woman relaxing on the couch

Make Tomorrow Easier by Clearing Out the Mental Clutter

Bouncing from one project to the next all day long, I could feel my frazzled neurons struggling to calm down. I laid in bed, trying to relax, but I couldn’t do it. My mind was a junkyard.

I started listing all the things I was grateful for in my mind, but that didn’t work. I counted sheep. I counted my breaths. I did everything I could think of for the next hour. I was still buzzing with thoughts, emotions and ideas.

Some of the thoughts were positive, but some of them turned negative. Like...

  • Why wasn’t I selling more books?
  • Why wasn’t I making viral videos?
  • Why wasn’t I working harder?

I work hard. Very hard. I know this. It’s a fact. And yet—could I work harder?

Yes, but at what expense? Whenever you put your time and energy into one thing, other things suffer. When I try to focus on too many projects at once my brain gets cluttered and I end up tiring out easy. I was trying to write a book and create a course for my community and it was too much. I still had a day job as well, so most of my work would be done at night. I put this much pressure on myself to do all the things, I got overwhelmed and didn’t have the energy to get either project done.

When you have too much to hold inside your brain you don’t get the quality results that you expect. When you let yourself down by not meeting these expectations your inner bully comes raging out and this can spiral the strongest person into a depressed state.

Eventually I decided to get out of bed and make a list. I needed to clear the trash in my head and work through all these thoughts bouncing around my head.I wrote down:

  • Make a video about letting go of head trash.
  • Work on the ending of my Lunch and Learn Mindset Boost presentation at 10am tomorrow.
  • Focus on giving a great presentation by letting my personality out. Showing my enthusiasm for my content.
  • It’s ok to just “be” instead of trying to cross everything off my “to do” list every single day.
  • Play a game with my boys tomorrow, so I can hear their laughter.
  • I need to be a little sillier with my boys at bath time, so they have fun and I don’t act so grumpy.
  • Hug my wife Nikki when I wake up in the morning.
  • Enjoy that I have this extra energy that I can summon when I care about something.
  • I have everything I need. Love, a warm home, healthy family, imperfect body, the ability to write on my laptop, paper, my phone.
  • I need to accept some of my teammates aren’t very good at communicating. I’m far from perfect myself and if I bring a little more compassion to my co-worker who called me out in the meeting today and allow him to have his faults then I’m working smarter. I will reach out to him by lunch to make sure he understands how I expect him to communicate with me. I will explain that we should set-up a call next time instead of having an email exchange that doesn’t do a good job of explaining the nuances of the situation.

The last one hit home. It applied the mental relief that I needed. I could feel my mind release its tension. My muscles followed right behind. I closed my journal and went to bed. It still took a little bit to fall asleep, but I counted my breath up to 10 and down for three rounds, and fell asleep.

Next time you are struggling try one of two techniques:

1. Write down everything that you are worried and thinking about.

If you want to go a little deeper try this...

2. Write down everything that you are worried about and when you will deal with them.

If you know some of the things you write down are important, try to write when you will take action on them tomorrow. This will help you relax and make tomorrow easier because you know you will take care of the important things that need to get done.

If you are ready to take it up a notch, you can get the one-page SOAR guide. It shows you how the whole process works and how to implement it in your life.

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash