Mind the Mind

Our brains are like a house. Not necessarily a nice clean new one. We like to pretend it is. However, it’s creaky and old. By our adult years it’s been renovated over and over again. Might have a few layers of paint on the walls too. And, there’s always the one room with all the secrets.

Our house has memories, plans, ideas, and just choked full of information. Our brain’s developed complex filing systems too to keep all this stuff as organized as it could. Sometimes though these systems find some termites or mice that causes it to glitch. When that reboot happens with any kind of frequency, the house is a little hard to live in. If we had to face an inspection, we probably wouldn’t pass it. Or, we’d dangerously come close to having us get evicted from it.

Getting our hands on the blue prints though and the architect’s idea of why the house is built the way it is, can help. The history behind why it was built. We have to know every floor in detail and how each floor was conceptualized. Knowing which walls are reinforced to handle more of a load than others can be important. Which wall has electricity or water pipes running down it are great things to know before we decide to expand a room by knocking that wall down.

Our minds can only focus on a very limited number of things at a time. But, we try to force much more through it. I learned about the attentional system which helps our brains organize information. The attentional system in our old house is a pillar holding everything together. Our brains are at their best when it is allowed to focus on one thing at a time. Over the years we’ve put this attentional system under huge workloads or forced it to multitask for to long. Your brain is built to focus on what’s most important, so let it.

As I’ve stated in several posts and the most recent podcast we’re absolutely surrounded by more and more information all day long. As a result we’re completely forced at times to make more and more decisions. If we just listen to the fact that our brains focus on the most important thing first and work on just that, we’d find success. Everything else it just noise.

Like the rooms in our old creaky house, we need one room and focus on organizing it. Find a designated place for every piece or furniture you’re stacking inside it. Instead of taking everything with us, every where we go, set up places you can drop things off at. I have a bowl by the door that my wallet and keys go into as soon as I walk in. I don’t have to keep them in pockets, carrying them all around the house. I can unload them and free my mind up for other things. We need to do the same thing for ideas or creativity we have in our heads. Off load them into the dish by the door and come back to them when we’re ready.

“Writing things down conserves the mental energy expended in worrying that you might forget something and in trying not to forget it.”

After you filter the best of what you want to keep inside your head, make a junk drawer in the top of the dresser for the other ideas or thoughts. Again, off loading them so there is more room to think. Use these junk drawers a lot. Remember junk drawers still have some great ideas floating around in them, so don’t leave them around for to long. Riffle through it every now and then.

Our brains need some time out and off time as well. Don’t fall prey to the “just one more idea or task” trap. Binging the mind is terribly straining on it. The care as well as maintenance of the house happens with some sleep. Even a nap can have tremendous improvements to the processing power of your brain. There was actually a study of students that showcased this idea. Those that took care to get some sleep between their most challenging course loads, performed better than those that crammed. In fact, you’re twice as likely to solve a problem after taking a nice little nap. So just sleeping on an idea is an actual thing.

Like a house we need to from time to time patch the brain up, give it some fresh paint, and work on the yard to keep it in peak condition. It will be better and more capable of handling everything you throw at it if we just take care of it.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend! Take a break from your work week.

✌🏻 Shawn

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