Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brain Clutter Solution

Over at 4Real some of the ladies are talking about Decluttering the Mind.  I thought I'd share a bit about how I do that.  This year in particular  I've had a lot on my mind and not a lot of time to be organized.  When I tried to sit down and start my planning for the coming year I had too many thoughts swimming around in my head!  It made it difficult to focus.  There were too many thoughts and not enough of the organization that my "type A" personality craves.  This was causing much stress and anxiety.  Enter the "Everything Notebook" or, to take a phrase from the ladies at 4Real, the "Brain Dump" Notebook.

I bought this little journal notebook from my local store when it was on sale.  It's a bit fancy for what I need.  I'm not usually a "jewel studded" person, but I thought this was pretty, and the price was right.  I had it sitting in my "giant bag of things to read and do" for a while until I decided I was going to use it to write random notes down, in no special order.  Well it didn't take me long to nearly fill it! 

"Giant Bag of Things to Read and Do"

I keep it with me on a regular basis and I've discovered how valuable it is for when I'm waiting.  I think I spend a lot of time just waiting - waiting to pick up Social Butterfly from dance, waiting for Night Owl to get done with his Chem lab at the university, waiting for various sports practices to end ...
I used to keep all my notes on my computer, but I don't always have access to that.  This little notebook has been just perfect for what I need.  As I'm leaving the house it's become my habit to grab my phone, my purse, my keys, and now this little notebook.

I decided right away that I was not going to try to keep it in any special "order".  This was difficult for me!  I don't even date the pages!  That's because I want to keep it random.  If I'm writing notes on our schedule for next year, I don't want to feel like I can't insert a note about Builder's Math.  If things were dated and in some sort of order I would hesitate to write it down.  I add these random notes by simply inserting a "random thoughts" box right smack down in the middle of my other strand of writing.  I just draw a box around it and label it "Random Thought" or "Side Note" or some such thing. Then I continue on with my thoughts on scheduling, or whatever I happen to be writing about.

Is it confusing to read then?  Not really.  I think since they are just my thoughts I can pretty much follow them.  It's actually sort of fun to detour from what I'm writing to insert something completely off topic.  I put these detours into  boxes or surround them with brackets; something to set them apart from the original writing.  I haven't gone so far as to use different colors yet.  I'm afraid I'd get too caught up in the "artsy" part and lose track of my thoughts.

This little notebook has really been the basis for much of my planning for the coming year.  It's been a crazy Spring so far and before I could actually get to the nitty gritty of planning for the coming year, I had to get all the those thoughts swirling around in my head down on paper.  My "Brain Dump" notebook has been just the thing I needed.


Sarah said...

Thanks for sharing your notebook! I have set aside some time tomorrow to declutter my mind, but I also hope that I can make it a regular habit ...


Willa said...

Great minds! I have much the same type of process. Looking forward to reading more in your planning series.