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What’s the best way to focus your mind? When you’re trying to figure out how to declutter everything in your life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel like a failure as a mom.

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, unfocused, or anxious lately, learn how to calm your thoughts, stay focused, and be more productive with these seven easy tips to clear your mind.

1. Practice Mindfulness to Clear Your Head

Focus on being in the moment. Instead of worrying about your to-do list in the middle of spin class or trying to create a mental grocery shopping list while playing with your kids at the park, enjoy the moment

While mindfulness seems easy, it may take a little work, especially if you haven’t done it or if you’re super stressed. 

Mindfulness is a great practice to learn how to focus your mind on one thing. These are some simple tricks to use mindfulness and train your brain to focus:

  • Start a journal
  • Spend 15 minutes before bed reflecting on your day
  • Write down three things that made you feel grateful or happy every day
  • Use a mindfulness app, like Calm, or practice breathing with a timed exercise on your FitBit app

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2. Get More Sleep to Clear Your Head

Sleep does a body good (to (mis)quote the old milk commercial)!

When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to feel anxious, depressed, and even get physically sick. If your mind is cluttered and you’re feeling overwhelmed, try getting a solid night of sleep.

Sleeping more might be a challenge if you have little children, but try going to bed when they go to bed, or at least 30 minutes earlier than your normal bed time.

If you struggle to get off the couch or don’t have a solid evening routine in place, check out Make Over Your Evenings to create a better routine that allows for more sleep.

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3. Stop Multitasking to Focus Your Mind on One Thing

Part of practicing mindfulness is noticing the small things or the little details and immersing yourself in the moment. But if you’re trying to do several things at once, mindfulness is a little difficult.

Studies have shown that the human brain isn’t capable of “multitasking.” Instead, when you do more than one activity, your brain is actually switching tasks quickly and repeatedly.

It’s no wonder you feel exhausted by noon if you’ve been “multitasking” all morning!

Instead of trying to juggle everything at once, focus your mind on one thing at a time. Even if you get distracted, either make a note of the distraction (write it down if you’re worried that you’ll forget) or ignore it. Then continue doing your original task.

The more you train your brain to stay focused on one thing, the easier it will be to stay productive and reduce mental clutter over time.

4. Create a Simplified To-do List

Set up your to-do list so that you’re more mindful throughout your activities. This will also help you avoid multitasking, too.

Either before bed every night or first thing in the morning, make a list of everything that you want to accomplish.

According to the Ivy Lee method, which James Clear shared in the book Atomic Habits, you should write down the six most important things you need to accomplish each day.

Prioritize the tasks on your to-do list in order of their “true importance.”

To determine your tasks’ “true importance,” think about which task would make everything else easier.

For example, if you have “grocery shop, clean the house, donate a bag of clothes to Goodwill, and bake muffins” on your to-do list, think about which order makes the most sense. It’ll be easier to clean the house before you grocery shop and carry the bags into your house, but it also makes sense to bake before you clean in case you make a mess.

However, depending on your personality (and the day), you may find that six items is overwhelming.

In the Organized Motherhood Planner, I have a space to write my top three to-do list tasks.

If I have more tasks that need to be completed, I can list them in the “notes” section, but for the most part, I consider the day a success if I finish my top three things.

I’ve also found that I get stressed out if I have more than three things to do in a day. For example, my to-do list yesterday consisted of:

  • Take Tori to gymnastics
  • Take Tori to the eye doctor
  • Pick up Mark from school
  • Get allergy shots
  • Feed the kids dinner
  • Run to wrestling practice….

But while those six tasks fit on my to-do list, Tori accused me of “driving like an idiot” and we were late to almost every appointment of the day!

Regardless of the number of tasks on your to-do list, when you’re ready to work, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.

Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion.

At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day. Repeat this process every day.

However complicated your to-do list, make sure you prioritize and then simplify your to-do list so you can stay focused and productive.

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5. Reframe Your Thoughts to Stay Focused

“How you think about what’s happening around you is far more important to your well-being than what’s actually happening around you.”

-Unknown

Have you ever had a bad day that just seemed to get worse as the day went on? Or have you ever felt stuck in a rut and nothing seems to pull you out?

Often, just thinking differently can make a big difference.

Instead of thinking about what you’re not accomplishing, what you can’t do, or what you don’t have time for, think about all the progress that you’ve already made.

For example, instead of beating yourself up because you didn’t go to the gym or you ate an extra cookie, pat yourself on the back for eating a salad.

Don’t forget to celebrate the little wins. And even when you don’t feel like you have any wins to celebrate, try to find something positive to think about.

While not every moment in life is a happy moment, nothing good comes from dwelling on the negative.

6. Brain Dump to Focus Your Mind

Studies show that you’re more likely to remember things that you write down instead of keeping them in your head. That’s why you’re able to picture your shopping list and remember the bread, even if you forgot your list on the kitchen counter.

One easy way to clear your mind so you can focus on the most important things is to do a brain dump.

Get all the thoughts out of your head and write them down on paper so you can have some mental focus. This works especially well if you’re stressed, dealing with anxiety, or need to get clarity on a specific problem.

7. Use the Two-Minute Rule to Get Things Done

Make it happen by using the two-minute rule to focus and clear your head.

If something takes less than two minutes to complete, adopt a “do it now” attitude.

If something takes longer than two minutes to complete, write it down to tackle later.

So often, the things that clutter are minds are simple things that could easily be solved. But when we hang onto them and keep obsessing over them, they grow larger in our minds.

By doing small tasks right away (and acknowledging larger tasks), you’ll free up you mind and have less stress so you can focus on your current tasks.

When your mind is cluttered and you’re having trouble focusing, try one of these seven tricks to declutter your mind and feel more organized and productive.

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