Beginning your work or a study session can be difficult. You have to focus on your next task while you probably have many thoughts in your head.
To help you focus on your studies, your work, or anything else, you can use a mind map.
Let's have a look at how you can use a mind map to clear your mind.
Why you want to clear your mind
People try to do many things at the same time. When you work, you think about home. At home, your mind wanders off to work and study. The reason this happens is often fear of missing out on important information. Or you are not interested in what you are doing. It is easy to get distracted when you are not interested.
We try to work on our task while at the same time we keep our other 'important' ideas in our minds. No wonder we get distracted. It is up to us to focus on the one thing we want to focus on. To do this, I have an easy to use 6 step technique.
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Clear Your mind for better focus
The goal of the 6 step exercise is to clear your mind. But not only that. I want you to capture the thoughts that are popping into your mind. This way they don't bother you during your work or studies.
Here is the 6 step approach to clearing your mind using a visual thinking strategy
6 steps to create the clear your mind mind map
Below is the action plan with the entire strategy to clear your mind using a mind map.
1. Set a timer to 2 minutes
The reason we do this is that you must take a finite time to complete this (and every other) task. Why 2 minutes you may ask? Because when you have more time, you start to think about things you could be writing down. That is not the goal of this exercise. Quickly capture your thoughts and move forward.
2. Take a sheet of paper or create a digital mind map
This exercise can be done on paper or on your computer. I find it easier to do this on paper because it allows me to quickly add thoughts to different parts of the map. Or you fire up your favorite mapping software to create a digital map. Use whatever is the easiest for you.
3. Name the central idea of the map
Don't think about the central keyword too much. You can call it THOUGHTS or DISTRACTIONS or anything you like. The important part of the map is coming up in step 5.
4. Close your eyes for a brief moment to focus on the task ahead
By closing your eyes, you are entering a new task. It is like going from one room to another. Once you step out of the old room, you can leave the thoughts and ideas there.
For now, I want you to imagine you step into the exercise of mind mapping your thoughts. This can be as easy as breathing in and out, opening your eyes, and looking at your screen.
5. Write all the thoughts in your head in the map
Start the timer and start writing. As quickly as you can. Write anything you come up within the map. You don't need to make it look pretty. Drawing images is most likely not needed (unless you have to). Try to keep related information together.
Don't worry about how many words you use. You are not writing a story. Only add keywords to the map.
6. Create a map with all the information in place
You might want to move some pieces of information around. Do this to outline the map better.
About now, you will hear the timer go off. Stop with your mind map. You took all the important ideas from your head. You created a nearly complete picture of your thoughts.
Did you capture all the thoughts and ideas that were running in your head?
Look at the map. Is it all the important information? Or were they mostly distractions and a bunch of fears that were terrorizing you?
I am sure there are a couple of important pieces that you really need or like. Fortunately, you captured everything. Now it is almost time to getting started with your task. 2 more things you should be doing.
First, minimize the digital map or put the paper mind map upside down.
Second, close your eyes. Tell yourself that you cleared your head. You captured the important information that was in your head. There is no need to be afraid you lose it. It is right there in front of you.
Now it is time to take care of your task!
Take action when your focus is running low or your attention is drifting away.
Are the thoughts already in your mind map? Close your eyes and tell yourself you don't need the information. If not, add the information to the map.
Next, you tell yourself to focus on the task and you get going again.
QUICK HINT: If this attention drifting happens a lot, take a quick break. You focus on the distracting thoughts and capture them! After that, you move on.
Your Next mind clearing map
The next time you want to clear your mind you can use the same mind map. Of course, you can also create a new map.
What is important is that the next map you make doesn't get 2 minutes.
It gets 10 seconds less. So the second time you only get 1m50s.
We reduce the time to make it clear on your mind that you don't want to waste 2 minutes each time. Less time usually creates enough stress to make capturing thoughts more effective.
New maps may hold much of the same information as before. This also saves time.
Reduce the time until you have between 15 and 30 seconds.
When you reach the 15 seconds mark, it may be that you can do this entire exercise without a mind map 😮 !!!! You close your eyes, and you know the task ahead is all you need to think about.
After you did your focused work
Are you ready with your task?
I want you to have a quick look at the "clear your mind" map you created. Was it really that important?
If there is something important, choose to work on that task right now. It is important to get it done!
When there are a couple of important tasks, make a short list on your mind map, and choose to do them as well.
I am sure your mind will have less noise in it. You can feel more confident.
How does it feel when you don't need to actively think about all these things (since you captured them on paper).
QUICK HINT: do you miss the worrying and overthinking? Take your mind map and try to add more thoughts. Plan some time to take care of this task. In fact... try to schedule all your distractions using this mind map 🙂
To Use This today
Should you be working on a task? Please take a few minutes to create the clear your mind map.
In fact... clearing your head will be good for you even if you don't have to work on something.
- Create the map right now.
- Enjoy your clearer and noise-free mind!
You have to understand that most things you think about are distractions. They are not important. Work on the few which are important. Don't overthink. Take action!
After you cleared your mind, how did that feel?
When you use the method above, you can clear your mind. Are you studying for a long term goal? Or are you working your way through a nonfiction book? Have a look at the Studying with Mind Maps online course so I can assist you with that.