My head feels like a cluttered and unorganized attic. That’s what a client said when she contacted me about coaching.
Do you ever feel that way?
I think it’s pretty common to sometimes feel that your head stuffed full of ideas that no longer work, other people’s junk, too many things on your to-do list and on and on.
Imagine that cluttered up attic for a minute. It’s jammed to the rafters with things you no longer need or rarely use. You can’t really remember everything that is actually stuffed in there. If you do go looking for something, it probably takes longer to find it than it should and along the way you get distracted by other stuff. “Hey look my old high school yearbooks” or “That was grandma’s wedding dress – I wonder if it fits?”
The same kind of thing happens when your head is jammed full like an old attic.
It’s hard to pay attention to the things that really need your attention.
You get distracted by interesting but unproductive activities.
You feel disorganized and inefficient.
Perhaps it’s time to clean out your mental attic. You can use some of the same principles that apply to attic cleaning to tidying up your head. Start here:
1. Begin. Like any task that seems daunting, the hardest part is often getting started. Deal with the easy stuff first. What is one thing that you can let go of right now?
2. Get rid of irritants. In an attic those might be dust or mold or allergens. In your head they are the things that annoy, frustrate and distract you. Begin by identifying the irritants in your head. Simply naming them as such goes a long way to reduce their impact. Feel free to remove them.
3. Return stuff to its proper owner. Attics are notorious magnets for other people’s junk. If you are a people pleaser, you probably have a lot of other people’s stuff in your head. You don’t have to be the chief problem solver or conflict manager for everyone else. Get in the habit of asking yourself whether a situation is your responsibility or not. If it isn’t, let someone else deal with it.
4. Let go of things that have no real value. Just because you used to do something one way doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. If something in your life is not working the way you would like it to, then you need to start doing something different. People waste a lot of time doing the same thing and wishing for different results.
5. Tackle the grime. Once you get started, you might find there are some things lurking in the corners of your mind. We all have limiting beliefs that hold us back. They show up as nagging little voices in our heads that tell us why we can’t have what we want. Grime accumulates in the corners. A little elbow grease goes a long way to clean it up. When you identify a limiting belief, recognize that it holds you back and then replace it with a more empowering belief.
6. Keep it tidy. Clutter rapidly accumulates if you don’t have a system to manage it. Set aside time each week to check in with yourself about how things are going. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not and make adjustments as you go.
An attic can be a really cool space. So can your head when you don’t jam it full of junk.