Spring Cleaning Your Brain
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
If you’ve started spring cleaning your home or yard you may be shocked by how much stuff has accumulated over the long winter. It always feels so good to clear out the clutter and start the season with a clean, fresh home. But have you ever considered spring-cleaning your brain? Decluttering your mind provides simplification that can greatly enhance your mental clarity. From old ideas, to projects that never got started, to things you have wanted to learn and do - too many things can muddle your mind. Take action to clear out unnecessary items taking up your cognitive space and make room for creative new ideas and priorities.
Toss it out – Be mindful about all the ideas that have been floating around in your head. Pull those items off your mental shelf that out-of-date. If these ideas don’t seem to make you excited anymore, or their time has passed, simply toss them out. Discarding old ideas does not mean you’ve failed. If you feel good about trashing an old idea you’ve chosen well. If, however, you feel deeply disappointed, you may want to take a few minutes to see if the idea could be polished up and saved.
Recycle it – If you can’t quite bring yourself to tossing your idea in the trash you might want to think about recycling it. Start by asking yourself some questions. Can you pick up where you left off with that idea? Does the idea fit into your current work circumstances and corporate direction as when you first thought it up? Can you recycle part of this old idea into something you are working on now? For example, maybe you wanted to pursue training to help you become a better in-person speaker, but now much of the world is virtual. Perhaps you change direction a bit and seek out a course that helps you create more successful presentations through virtual platforms. Recycling old ideas can add new life and meaningfulness to them.
Donate it – What do you do if you aren’t attached to an idea any longer but you think it still has a lot of merit? Maybe someone on your team or in another department would love to give it new life and run with it. Take a hard look at the project or idea and be strategic on who you might hand it off to - someone whose passion and talents would make the idea flourish. Remember that donating an idea to someone else, just like tossing an idea out, does not mean you failed. It actually shows good managerial skills and frees up your time and energy for those projects that truly meet your skillset and strategic goals.