There are very few problems that a little organization can't help solve. Need more room for visiting guests? Rearrange the spare bedroom with cots and sleeping bags. Can't find anything in your kitchen? Add in some new shelves or dividers.
As it turns out, organization can even apply to your mental state. Over the years, researchers have discovered certain practices and behaviors to help streamline your brain, aiding in improved cognition, a sharper memory and an overall enhanced awareness. Here are just a few tips to help declutter the space between your ears:
"Neuroscientists suggest 15 minute breaks for every two hours of work."
Sort your thoughts
Often, what causes people the most stress is the endless thoughts swirling around their heads. Your first step is to try and empty all that out. To that end, write everything out into specific lists, including general to-dos, assorted ideas and random questions. Then, approach each list accordingly. Having things on paper can give you a sense of order and keep you from feeling trapped by your own thoughts. For added effect, be sure to cross things off lists as you complete or otherwise address each item.
Take frequent breaks
If you're spending the day completing a number of errands, that's sort of like an actual job. Just like any other career, you should be afforded breaks a few times each day. Neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Levitin suggested taking 15 minute breaks for every two hours of work. Talk a quick stroll, enjoy a healthy snack or play with the family pet - anything to unburden your mind, even just temporarily. These breaks can not only help alleviate stress, but they also allow the brain to "restart," thus letting you readdress certain issues or tasks.
Throughout the day, it's common for many people to work on several tasks simultaneously. However, that's not always the most effective method. Instead, experts say to take your time. Do one task at a time, always giving it your full and utmost attention, before moving on through your day. As an extension of this, you also need to adjust how much time you spend on various tasks. Something like responding to a friend's email shouldn't take as long as, say, helping your kids study. Giving everything equal time can make your world seem all the more rushed and chaotic.
Memory is your friend
In order to deal with the avalanche of information you're bombarded by each day, your brain utilizes the short-term memory. Also called the working memory, this is the part of the brain that stores the most recent bits of "data," according to CNN. Engaging your short-term memory is a way to find new problem-solving methods, recognize unseen patterns and generally forge fresh insights. To help improve this crucial area of the mind, try regular exercise, a good night's rest and, as mentioned above, frequent breaks from work and life in general.
Unlike when you add in a spice rack, organization of the mind doesn't always come easily. It's important to work continually to clear the brain and try and focus on what's most important in your life.