All of us are due for a good spring clearing occasionally. Spring is a perfect time for renewal of a leader’s mind.
Most people get a good spring cleaning in this time of year, whether it’s in the yard, the garage, or the basement. We filter through the clutter, organizing the things that are still good, and ridding ourselves of useless junk. The final product…a nice, neat, and organized space.
So, why would we not do the same with our minds? Maybe you can relate to this. I tend to reach a point where my mind is just simply full of clutter, in desperate need of reorganization, and in greater need to remove useless junk. With heavy clutter, my brain gets stalled out, it can become sluggish, my far-sighted vision gets blurry, and I tend to not be the best version of myself. My mind becomes a mess.
If our homes require a good spring cleaning, then maybe our minds call for a good spring clearing occasionally. When the clutter builds, here are three things we can do to deal with it, along with one alternative to escape it:
When I feel the sense of my mind becoming overwhelmed, I start writing. I have a 24″x17″ pad of grid paper and I begin the process of emptying my mind of everything that is jumbled. It allows me to organize my thoughts and get the burdensome messages from my brain to my note pad. I write every single thing that comes across my mind down, no task or burden too small.
When my brain gets cluttered, I can easily spin my wheels. When I spin my wheels, my forward progress gets halted. Failing to make forward progress leads to discouragement. Once I convey the clutter to paper, I start to attack it, one item at a time. I write the thoughts down in black ink and strike through every completed task with bright red ink.
In the midst of complicated clutter, our minds crave simplicity. Sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is the best way to attack clutter. Write it down, then attack. Simple and straight forward.
The Cleveland Clinic defines dopamine as, “a neurotransmitter made in your brain. It plays a role as a “reward center” and in many body functions, including memory, movement, motivation, mood, attention and more.”
With every strike through of the red pen, I get a shot of dopamine. Dopamine in a season of clutter certainly improves my motivation, mood, and attention. It provides the reward I need in a time of clutter, the encouragement to push through to the other side.
While I don’t often advocate for avoidance, sometimes it is healthy to just escape the clutter. It is a perfectly good alternative given certain circumstances. For me, it is solitude in the form of fishing, gardening, reading, hiking, camping, or sitting around a good campfire. All of which provides a necessary form of escape in the face of clutter.
While the escape tactic doesn’t cross things off the list, it does renew my spirit and reenergizes my mind to intentionally attack the tasks upon my return to reality. From experience, there is one certainty about tasks and burdens, they will always be waiting on you tomorrow. Sometimes it is necessary to put off for today, what could be done tomorrow.
I often write these blog posts as a self-accountability measure. Putting these messages in writing challenges me to walk the talk. Written words that my actions can easily fall short of.
This is one of those weeks for me. A week in which I look ahead to my calendar and see more shaded space than free time. One where my schedule calls the shots, not me.
As I peered into the week today, I broke out the grid paper. Downloaded everything I could possibly think of onto it. I even included a few tasks that I had already completed, just to be able to strike through them. A much-needed shot of dopamine.
Most households do not function well in clutter, neither do leaders. Leaders function better with a seasonal clearing. Maybe it’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever your season calls for. When we free our minds of the clutter, things become clearly organized. We free up the necessary space to lead well.
Are you due for a spring clearing?