When you think of organization, what comes to mind? Is it Tupperware containers, The Happy Planner, your laundry basket, or maybe an accordion-style folder? Maybe you think of your OCD mom, your perfectly put-together 3rd grade teacher, or your grandmother's china cabinet.
We probably all have a pretty good idea of what it looks like to be organized when it comes to physical items and tasks, but I think that we often forget about organizing our minds. And really, that makes sense. Plenty of people say they need to organize their closets or bookshelves, but very few people say, "today I need to organize my mind".
The truth is, though, if we are disorganized in our minds, our success, productivity, and ability to live in freedom will be hindered indefinitely.
But how exactly do we do that? What does it mean to organize our minds? Keep reading to learn more!
Learn to CompartmentalizeWhen you are at work, focus on work. When you are home, give your attention to your loved-one's and taking care of your home. When you are spending time with friends, focus on doing that. Don't start stressing about work while with family, or friend-drama while at work. This may sound impossible, but it's not. It's all a matter of habit. We've let ourselves become mentally disorganized, and now we need to form new habits.
Recognize Your Allies and EnemiesThere are certain things that set us up for success, and others the doom us for failure when it comes to organizing our minds. Elizabeth of Love Doing Life said that she tries to pray, read the Bible, and listen to worship music to get her mind right. Why does she do this? Here's what she had to say:
"If I have a goal to focus my mind on the right things then I need to set myself up for success. From there I think about my allies and enemies. Then I promote the allies and remove the enemies. Those two steps are the toughest because it means being real and honest with myself."
Be Aware of How You Should Be ThinkingThe Bible tells us that as followers of Christ, we should be thinking on what is right, good, true, lovely, and admirable (Phil. 4:8). There are times that I will catch myself "daydreaming" of the worst-case-scenario about one issue or another. I have a very vivid imagination and I am really, really skilled at imagining really bad outcomes.
But when I have entered into that kind of mindset, I often realize it. It all of a sudden hits me that those thoughts are not true, not good, and not accomplishing anything of value. It's then that I have to choose to re-organize my thoughts and begin focusing on what is good.
Use Stress to Your AdvantageIf you are someone who struggles to stay organized mentally, you probably find yourself stressed out because you have wondered or procrastinated. If that's the case, use that stress to your disadvantage. Stay mentally "organized" by pushing yourself to finish a task all in one sitting. Remember that you will feel even more stressed if you don't go ahead and finish the task. Hopefully that is enough motivation to keep you successful.
On the flip-side, I asked my friend Jeff what he thinks about organizing his mind, and he gave a different (yet helpful) perspective.
"I don't really organize my thoughts. I'm very goal oriented, so if I have a project due and a deadline to meet, I have a sense of urgency to get it done, and I'll be bothered if it's not done. So I work toward productivity by setting a goal and not resting until I meet it."
Organizing your mind is a very important practice. It's something most people probably need some improvement on. So if you find yourself constantly trying to multitask your life, too scattered to function, or simply frustrated with the direction your thoughts keep going, I hope these tips will help you. And I would love to hear about whether or not this is something you struggle with. Comment below to chat about it!