When was the last time you took a mental dump? For me, it was Friday, and what a relief it was. You’re probably thinking TMI, right? A mental dump has nothing to do with the restroom, rather, how we handle the information that’s going on in our head.
How often do you feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to get done in any given period of time? How many checklists do you create? Do you ever notice when are you in the middle of something, you get distracted, and suddenly an hour has passed and you haven’t finished what you started?
We live in a world where we are doing more things in a short amount of time, and information is coming at us at record speeds. Twenty years ago, our brains were conditioned to receive information, process, and store what we took in. Today, most of us don’t store information because we don’t need to. We have cell phones that store numbers, calendars to remind us where we need to go, and task lists to remind us what we need to do. If we are faced with a question we don’t know the answer to, we Google it. It’s simply not necessary to store information; we just need to know where to find it.
Take a moment to think of your brain as a computer. All computers have memory and RAM. Memory refers to the amount of storage you have to save things. RAM is the speed at which your computer processes. If you have too many things stored, it slows down your processor. Simple right? Your brain works the same way. The more you store, the slower it can become.
A mental dump is simply getting rid of the clutter. Get everything out of your brain and put it somewhere so it doesn't slow down your Psychic RAM. I decided to give this philosophy a try.
On Friday, I created my personal mental dump list for the weekend. My goal was to focus only on things that were on my dump list and not be derailed by other things that popped up. I put everything on this list I needed to get done, like laundry, cleaning, and planting flowers. I also included some things I’ve wanted to do personally, like whiten my teeth, read a book, and catch up on what’s stored in my DVR. I started the weekend thinking I would never get half the list done, but I was more efficient and got almost everything done on the list.
I have to admit, it was tough not getting distracted. I came across a closet that really needed some attention. I started to dive in, but caught myself and focused on the list at hand. I got more done over the weekend than I had in a really long time, and I wasn't stressed about it. The reality is your list will never be complete. But, if you prioritize and manage your distractions, you can be more efficient with your time. Whether you need a dump at work or home, consider the fact that your brain is a processor, free up some space, and improve your efficiency.
Written by: Kasie Smith is West Michigan Woman magazine's publisher. She is a Michigan native. She was born in Traverse City, and now lives in Grand Rapids. She enjoys golfing, spending time in the sun, and watching romantic comedies with her very own leading men, her husband Jason and her twin boys. Source: Jim Harris, MSW, Ed.S., owner of Opportunities Consulting Services LLC. Photo: Soni Metz