How to Think Clearly

Mind Habits Focus

People do many ways to think clearly.

Here are five of them.

Make lists.  For me, having a list of things to do helps me clear my mind.  Working with my list, I can think of one thing at a time.  I can focus on what I am doing.

Write things out.  When I am worrying about something or angry about something, I can write down what is bothering me.  I can write something as simple as, “I am angry at John, because he took criticized me in front of the other people in the meeting.”

Take responsibility for my actions.  When I make mistakes, I can admit my mistakes.  When I have offended someone, I can clear my mind by saying to that person that I regret what I said or did and that if I had it to do over, I would hopefully handle things differently.  Strangely, when I admit that I am wrong, I stop being angry or resentful.

Take breaks.  For me, a break can take many different forms.  I can step away from my desk and take a short walk.  I can spend time organizing things around my office.  Once a day, I stop for twenty-five minutes to lie down and focus on letting my muscles relax.  I just become aware of which part of my is not relaxed and release the tension. The MIT Center For Academic Excellence recommends that you “plan regular breaks.”

Reduce distractions. I cannot watch a television program and listen to a person at the same time.  I cannot type on my computer and learn anything from a podcast at the same time.  Whenever I am expecting myself to handle two mental tasks simultaneously, I am not able to think clearly.  The editorial team at Mind Tools says, “Without distractions, you can get into flow, produce high-quality work, and achieve much more during the day.”

Image by Jay Wren

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