Mental Clutter: Finish Tasks To Solve Anxiety!

photo of cluttered workbench with the words mental Clutter finish tasks to solve anxiety
Mental Clutter

I’ve been paying attention to Mental Clutter a lot more over the last few years. I wanted to know why I was feeling anxious in certain areas of my life. As a cancer patient and survivor, I know that stress that is caused by anxiety is detrimental to my recovery and mindset. Mental clutter is just one element of a bigger picture to help give myself the best fighting chance I can to beat this disease again. 

As someone that is pretty task-oriented, My experience has taught me that trying to multitask just simply doesn’t work. Each task, you create psychic anxiety until it’s complete. Even though I have multiple projects, I really tried to focus on one aspect of each one and finish it as best as I can. Then move to the next segment. 

Living In This Digital World 

We have information so readily accessible at our fingertips, it’s easy to be distracted. Our phones supply us with multiple streams of information at any one time. Our pavlovian response has trained us to jump at these notifications that our phone continuously reminds us of intending to finish those tasks we left open. This makes our brains process these digital distractions as unfinished tasks. These unfinished tasks pester you. And ultimately the mental clutter in your life. This subconsciously reminds you of all the unfinished tasks. This, in turn, causes anxiety.

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6 Ways To Start Finishing Tasks And Help Solve Anxiety

Turn Off Your Phone Notifications.

This will help you start focusing your attention on more important things. Including reduce your anxiety and mental clutter. Being able to have this control is unbelievable. I’m in a number of chat groups with people and work colleagues that continue to blow my phone up. really frustrating only for the fact that if I was to pay attention to every single one of them I would never get anything done and be locked into my phone 24/7. 

Text Messaging

This takes discipline. Set aside certain times of the day to respond to messages. This is probably one of the hardest ones. Especially since a lot of Us carry on conversations over periods of time with multiple people. Take my wife, for example, I spend a portion of my day texting with her. A majority of the time, I don’t need to respond immediately. But there are definitely times that she needs an answer ASAP. 

This is always difficult and challenging. But A good rule of thumb is that is if they can’t wait at least one hour, then the importance of the conversation should just move to a straight phone call. 

Internet Distractions  

Close your email software and turn push notifications off. There are all sorts of notifications that happen when you get a new email. 

Close browser tabs your not using! When you have so many tabs open, you can get distracted and confused about what you should do next. Having so many tabs open, you can lose your focus. A great analogy is having too many choices on a menu when you go to a restaurant.

Now I admit, that when I’m in the middle of working on a project, I could easily have one to two dozen different tabs open. I use these tabs as a way to open certain websites and programs to help me accomplish the one big task at hand. It’s also important to remember when you have so many tabs open it can hurt the performance of your computer.

Removing apps from your phone that you easily turn to when you are bored. This was a big one for me. Mobile phones nowadays have software that tally’s up how much time you use per app. Remember years ago, there was one app that I used all the time. Turns out I was spending close to 4 hours a day scrolling through the feed seeing what else everyone else was doing. That’s 28 hours a week I wasn’t being productive for anything.  

Write Down A List Of Unfinished Personal Business

Bills, Phone calls, emails are a few examples of unfinished business. These are the things that go on day-to-day in order to live with current responsibilities. 

It is so important to get a handle on your unfinished business so you can start working on these things!

Mind Map Your “Shoulds” Or Your Never-ending List Of Things That Must Get Done. 

I like to Mind Map when I feel there is confusion and no direction in my thoughts and within my focus. What is so good about doing this is it helps “empty the cup” and create a visual map that you can break through barriers that mental clutter creates.  

Stop Criticizing And Spreading Hate

There’s no doubt that we are all going through a lot of stress and anxiety due to the Cancer we face. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s effortless to turn the free time that we have spent social distancing and isolating from one another into anger on social platforms. The energy wasted on sharing your frustrations can do harm to your overall health. Stress raises your cortisol levels which in turn raise your heart rate and your blood pressure.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I got off social media. So tired of seeing and hearing people’s opinions about how angry they are about the current situation. A huge part of getting rid of the Clutter was understanding where all my frustration and anger was coming from. Getting caught up in discussions that were causing more pain and raising my blood pressure and stress levels. None of which was good for me. 

Here’s the thing, the sooner you are able to start dealing with the Clutter, whether that is the mental clutter that we are all going through or physical clutter of the stuff that we have gained in our life that we don’t want to get rid of, The sooner you can start working towards de-cluttering, the sooner you can start looking forward to a life of peace.

My Weird Little Mission

It’s been a weird little mission to clean up all the clutter that I have in my life. Over the course of 44 years, I have accumulated a lot of stuff. Stuff that had meaning I didn’t want to let go of. Items that held some sort of significance at a point in time in my past.

Because I held onto a lot of these things and items, this created mental and physical clutter that I didn’t recognize was so deeply rooted in my past. That is until I started going through this cancer journey.

And when started working on the awareness of my mental clutter through conscious growth that it all came to light. I also consider this part of my approach to Toxic Load.

I guess that’s the thing about going through such a life-changing experience like cancer is it brings the things that are most important to life.

At this point, I’m still working through all the incomplete loops. Engaged in the process that has been making me feel whole again. 

About the Author

Todd Franzen is a Stage 4 Lymphoma Survivor. Living in Breckenridge Colorado

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