Is there so much on your mind right now that you feel like your head might explode? Are your mental processes running at a less than optimum level? We regularly defrag our computers to keep them running smoothly so why not help maintain peak performance by clearing space in our heads to give ourselves more mental RAM?
4 Easy Steps to a Mental Defrag
1/ Recognize when your mind is at full capacity and in need of a defrag:
Mental overload can cause a host of symptoms and behaviors. The clues might show up in odd ways - perhaps you are forgetting things that you normally wouldn’t, maybe one of your friends is prompted to ask you "Are you okay? That's not like you to miss that". Or perhaps it is some out of character slip-up that flags your overloaded state - like driving out of your parking space with your cup of coffee still sitting on your car roof.
Once you have recognized your symptoms of mental overload it is time to acknowledge your state and say "that's ok". You are not going crazy - you have simply run out of mental RAM. Grant yourself some perspective by writing a REALITY CHECK LIST of everything that is happening in your life right now that is taking up mental bandwidth. Like taking care of your ill Dad, helping your teen study for finals, getting your new business off the ground, supporting your friend through his chemo treatments etc. After you have written the list, look at it objectively to realize why you might be on mental overload.
Look at the Reality List you wrote in Step 1. Is there anything on that list that is so urgent that if it is not attended to in the next 30 minutes, people will die? If there is, then stop reading this, and do that piece immediately! If not, then you have now given yourself 30 minutes. That will be enough time to breathe, get centered, and do the Assess and Park of Step 3.
3/ Assess and Park:
What is the most important area on your Reality List for you to attend to right now? Use your gut here, and look into your heart. For example, even though it is important to get your business in high gear, perhaps it feels more important to spend time at the hospital right now with your ailing dad. Decide on the main thing and park the rest in your parking lot. Take back control by focusing on your most important stuff first. Mental space will immediately open when you actively, intentionally and consciously choose your focus and then stay present in that choice.
4/ Commit to Regular Maintenance
Remember the signs that indicated you were going down the road to mental overload. Tweak your world on an ongoing basis and create a new habit of downloading and offloading all things that are not absolutely necessary for you to take care of. Start your mental defragging before your life's computer totally freezes up.