Decluttering our space, at home or at work, as a group or individual effort, is a much-touted strategy. You may have watched a few hoarder reality shows on TV and either been inspired or assured that your own clutter isn’t THAT bad.
Perhaps you have undertaken the task of decluttering your computer, deleting unwanted files, and organizing your desktop for maximum efficiency. You may have a regular schedule of doing that throughout the year. But have you thought of decluttering your brain?
Very few people think of their brain as a computer, if they think about it at all. Yet, the brain is a supercomputer and extremely powerful in the way it can make connections. It can also get overwhelmed and sometimes confused. Human beings tend to absorb tons of information and hold onto bits that are of no use and may even be harmful to their thinking.
There are ways to do minor brain decluttering, such as journaling or making tiny to-do lists. For large scale decluttering, mind mapping is an extremely effective strategy.
You may be familiar with other uses for mind mapping, particularly to brainstorm and plan. But using it to declutter your brain is very powerful. Here are areas of life where decluttering may be especially needed.
Complicated relationships tend to overwhelm the brain and cause negative thoughts to develop like weeds in your yard. Those negative thoughts overtake the positive thoughts and clutter the brain with images that bounce around like a box of golf balls dropped from 100 feet. The thoughts are suddenly all over the place. When we speak of relationships, we are talking about significant others, children, friends, and even co-workers. A mind map allows you to take the core problem and then drill it down to find solutions. All the thoughts regarding the relationship are in front of you, placed in an organized process rather than helter-skelter.
We take in a lot of information from what we read, see, and hear. In today’s world, we are bombarded with information, and we do not need all of it to function daily. All this information bouncing around in your head causes serious clutter. Mind mapping helps you to put down the pertinent information you need right now, information you want to record and be able to access at another time, and discard what you don’t need.
You may have a large-scale work project, and the information is coming fast and furious. You may even find people giving you input that is not related to the project you are working on.
Mind mapping that project drills down to what is needed and what is not. It will also help you to organize and create new ideas that will help with your project. Working on a project without using a mind map means you may forget things that are in your head but not at the front and center of your thoughts. Capturing them and connecting to them to where they can be used is a great function of mind mapping. It’s a great part of an effort to declutter your brain.
Organizing Your Thoughts
With so many things to do in a day, your thoughts can become disorganized, and the clutter becomes overwhelming as your brain skips from project to project, relationship to relationship. This can be especially true when we are doing so many things virtually and there are not the usual clear delineations between home, work, school, etc.
Mind mapping eliminates the clutter as you have a focus point, which is the center theme in your mind map. Building out the main branches and sub-branches is similar to creating a well-written outline for a non-fiction book. By the time you complete all the branches, you can see where your thoughts are, what the route is, and where the journey ends. All the distractions are moved aside or deleted, and this will serve to declutter your brain and provide clarity and direction.
Mind mapping can be used as a daily tool as well as for longer time frames. Experiment with it and see how effective it is in decluttering your brain and helping you feel more in control.
I have written previously about mind mapping here:
If you really want to learn about mind mapping from the originator of the technique, Tony Buzan published this just a couple of years ago. It’s a distillation of global research that has happened in the 5 decades since he first created this technique.