What can I learn/know right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.
Learn how to Clear Your Mind
I poll people regularly about how overwhelmed and distracted they feel. I simply ask them to rate, on a scale from 1-10, how overwhelmed they feel, and how distracted they feel. The average answer to both questions is about 8 out of 10.
As a rule, people are overwhelmed in the modern world.
Years ago I discovered a simple and very effective procedure for clearing your mind. Here's the method in a nutshell.
The Clear Mind Procedure:
- Take out a blank piece of paper and write the words "What's on my mind" at the top. Then write down everything that's on your mind.
- Take out another piece of paper, turn it sideways, and create three columns. Label these three columns: "active concern", "maybe later", and "delete". Sort all the items on the first piece of paper into the 3 columns on the second piece of paper.
- Delete all the items in the delete column. Tell each item, one by one, that you're done with them, and that they should go away and never come back.
- Take the items from the "maybe later" column and put them on your "maybe later" list. (If you don't keep a "maybe later" list, start one).
- Take the items from the "active concern" column and put them into your planning system. (If you don't have a planning system, then get one).
This procedure might well have saved my life about ten years ago. I was a mess. I was completely overwhelmed with an unfinished dissertation, social turmoil, two young children, and a struggling business at the time. I couldn't think straight with everything on my mind.
Once I started using this procedure everything cleared up, even before I solved all my problems. And I've been running clear ever since.
Now, let me leave you with one last thought.
"Everything" means Everything.
This process can work like a charm. But it takes a few tries to get EVERYTHING out of your mind.
To help with that process, here are a few things you should include:
- unfinished tasks
- trips you want to take
- people you think you should do lunch with or touch base with
- skills you want to develop
- subjects you want to learn
- areas of your life in which you feel inadequate -- physically, knowledge-wise, skill-wise
- regrets about your past choices
- daydreams about what you would do differently if you could re-wind the clock and start over again
- ways you feel trapped
- interpersonal conflict you're involved with.
- home repair issues
- home renovation ideas
- things you're dissatisfied with and want to change
- goals other people want you to pursue
- worries about the economy
- worries about loved ones
- habits you want to establish or break (but have had little success with so far)
- and anything else you remember that has come to mind at some point over the last few days
All that stuff competes for your attention. And if you want a clear mind, you must deal with all of it.
Give it a Try!
Go ahead. Give it a try.
And don't be surprised if you get dozens (or even hundreds) of things off your mind.
If you'd like to work through the process in a little more detail, take my free course: