Hey there guys and gals, I’ve been noticing many people becoming overwhelmed with tasks. With so many things to do on their list, they become paralysed and end up doing none at all.
To me, that’s a real shame as it stops people from making progress towards their goals and, indirectly, that lack of progress slows everyone down.
So, I wanted to share a system that works incredibly well at helping you to narrow your focus and actually get stuff done.
Sound good? Just keep reading – I promise it’ll be easy to read and implement.
What Is A System Defrag?
If you’ve ever crashed a computer before (who hasn’t), you might have seen a message popping up recommending a system defrag.
For all the non-nerds out there, this simply means taking all of the different fragments of your hard drive that are scattered around and pulling them together so that they can be found more efficiently (and deleted if unnecessary).
How Does This Apply To Your Mind?
Okay, I hear you – enough nerd talk…
The point I’m trying to make here is if you cloud your mind with a million different projects and tasks, it becomes fragmented and slow.
Eventually, just like the computer, it becomes totally fried and stuck.
I know this happens because I have subjected myself to this awful process on more than one occasion – it’s not pleasant at all.
The worst thing about it is when you know you’ve got all this stuff to do and it feels like you can’t do anything about it (which sucks).
How To Defrag Your Mind
Okay it’s action time.
Note: a lot of people who’re reading this will be put off at the thought of actually implementing something that will help them – which is really silly.
I implore you to stay with me though because this simply process can literally change your life by unclogging your mental block and getting you back on track.
Here it is in ludicrously easy 5 steps:
Step 1: Care About Something
This might sound a bit ridiculous.
A lot of people will say “of course I care about things in my life, I’ve got X and Y and Z…”
Alright, alright! All I’m saying is write that stuff down.
So many people drift through life, they care about something for a little bit then they jump over to something else and all that effort they spent building up the first thing gets totally wasted.
The reason you’re doing this is to outline your ‘mind fragments’ where you want to place most of your brain’s processing power.
Here’s a couple of examples of what those things might be:
- Making a positive impact on the world
- Spending time with people you love (and love you)
- Becoming the go-to expert in your industry
- Increasing your standard of living
FYI – those are my fragments.
For some people, your mind fragments might not come to you right away. If that’s you, I’d recommend that you regularly take some time figuring those out. I’ll write a follow-up post on this at a later date, but for now, skip to step 3.
Step 2: Write Down The Tasks That Matter
Great, you’ve got a couple of things that you care about.
Now, you need to work out the typical responsibilities and tasks that fall into these fragments.
By doing this, you can start to become mindful of when you’re wasting your time then get rid of those activities.
Let’s take one of my mind fragments:
‘Spending time with people who you love (and love you)’
What falls into this category?
- Having great conversations with close friends and family
- Comforting people I care about
- Having a deep, intimate, but fun relationship on a romantic level
- Attracting new relationships that I aim to maintain in my life
With these in mind, I can also understand the tasks that DON’T fall into this category.
- Pursuing one-off romantic relationships that lead nowhere
- Spending time with negative people who mess with my head
- Spending too much time alone
Quick note: these are taken from my own personal fragment and tasks – just because these are the things that I care about doesn’t mean that any other ones things you choose are at all wrong.
If you prioritise going out clubbing and pursuing one-night stands, that’s fine too. The important thing is that you commit to what you’re going after so you’ve got a sense of direction.
Step 3: Track Where You Spend Your Time
Now you know where you WANT to spend, you can start to become aware of where it actually goes i.e. the difference between your ideal situation and the reality.
The thought of tracking everything you do for a week might seem pretty daunting, but it’s actually simpler than you think – especially if you’ve got a smartphone and google.
Another thing to bear in mind is that, you’re just doing this for a week – so don’t get all hung up about this stuff taking over your life and being a control freak.
You’re just figuring out where you spend your time every day.
Okay, so just open Google Calendar the moment you wake up and every 30 minutes, write down your core task as an event in the calendar.
Sometimes you’ll be so busy that you miss out on a 30 minute block, but just go back to it later in the day and fill it in.
Step 4: Evaluate & Discard
At the end a week, look back at all the places you’ve spend your time and see how much time you’ve spent doing the tasks that are part of your main fragments (and also the tasks that aren’t).
Note: you might discover through this process that there are some things you care about that aren’t on your initial list that you might want to add in!
More importantly though, this process is about becoming aware of all of the wasted time you’ve spent on things you don’t actually care about then making a decision to discard those tasks.
Some addictive behaviours like social media or email browsing will be difficult to break, but as many recovering drug addicts will testify, the first step is becoming aware of it.
Step 5: Plot Your New Regime!
With that extra time you gain from discarding these tasks, you’ll instantly make room for more of the fulfilling areas of your life that you care about.
Before your next week begins, write down your core mind fragments again and the key responsibilities that they involve, then expand them into the time slots that you’ve now got available.
Congratulations – you’ve just defrag’d your mind and set yourself up for a happier, more productive week.
Make sure to repeat this process on a regular basis to stay on top of your time.