How to Organize Your Busy Brain

Do you ever feel like you have so many things swirling through your brain you can’t keep them straight? I’m right there with you! Here’s a simple 3-step hack I’ve been using to eliminate overwhelm and stay on top of my priorities:

Start with a Thought Download

Take a few minutes to get all of your thoughts out of your brain and onto the page. Just jot down every single thing you have to do, want to do, and feel like you should take care of.

3-Simple Steps to Organize your Busy Brain

Organize by Priority Level

Take each item and place it it one of the following categories: urgent, soon, or someday​. Sometimes this is all it takes for me to realize I have very few items to do that are actually time sensitive and truly urgent.

My soon list contains items I want to do that aren’t pressing or urgent, such as dropping off donations at my local charity or replacing toiletries and cosmetics. My someday list includes things like replacing the light in my bedroom, researching US road trip routes, and brushing up on my Spanish. I keep all of these items on an index card to reference when my schedule slows down. Just getting them out of my brain, and onto the page, gives me a lot of relief.

Organize Your Busy Brain

Schedule Your Top Priorities

Once you’ve categorized everything  in order of priority, make sure to schedule the most important items in your calendar to ensure they’ll get done. You can simply estimate the amount of time it will take to complete each task and then schedule away.

To give you an example of how all of this works, my current urgent list looks like this:

  • Prep for Closet Makeover Program coaching call – 1 hr
  • Write and review keynote talk – 2.5 hours
  • Confirm all in-person clients for the week – 15 minutes
  • Clean out kitchen cabinets and prep for demo – 2 hours
  • Confirm flights and hotel for Dallas trip – 30 minutes
  • Plan individual quality time with Chloe + Emilie – 30 minutes
  • Schedule weekly workouts and meal prep time – 1 hour

Once I have prioritized and assigned each task a time estimate, it’s quick and efficient to put each item on my schedule. As soon as something is scheduled, I don’t have to think about it anymore and I know that it will get taken care of.

How do you organize your busy brain when you feel overloaded with too many to-dos?

Images: Vivian Johnson Photo 

2 Comments

Lois Schwartz

Speaking for your older clients who are no longer trying to juggle kids, work, and household commitments, I think the problem is not trusting one’s memory. If I don’t take care of something when it (often inconveniently) enters my mind, I will forget it. So we become more scattered almost as a precaution. I keep lots of lists to try to minimize the forgetfulness, but it’s not always successful. Very frustrating!

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Judith D. Massarano

i love reading stuff that validates some of my techniques. wonderful stuff, thank you for “codifying” it!

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