Mental Clutter- Is It Taking Over Your Life?

Chances are, most of you have a lot you need to get done.

Oftentimes, there are projects on your to-do list that require SEVERAL steps in order to complete the task at hand.

I've come to realize that it is important to not only WRITE DOWN my chores but to break them up into bite-size pieces, brainstorming ALL of the possible parts that may be involved in completing each chore.

So, on my to-do list, "buying a minivan" looks like a simple task to complete, taking up just one line on my trusty notepad! What about all of the research, test driving, model and price comparisons, dealer negotiations, and financial planning that is involved?

I break down each task into as many pieces as I can. I like using an outline. For instance:


a. research the internet

b. discuss all options (leasing/buying/new/used) with financial planner

c. locate dealerships nearby

1. go on mapquest and get directions to the dealerships

2. test drive

d. compare favorite models, repeat step C #1 and #2

e. Make appointment with sales office, discuss buying options, rebates, financing, etc.

f. BUY!

As you can see, buying a minivan is more involved than it seems. (This is only an example with sample to-do steps.)

Most of the time, tasks require more time, energy, and input than we may have thought to allocate.

Break down each task into as many steps as you need. Assign deadlines to every step. It can be as simple as entering them into your calendar.

Two tools that I absolutely LOVE for breaking down larger projects and freeing myself from mental clutter are the Tickler system and the Mind Map.

Actually, my husband really uses the mind map because he is very visual and more of a right brain thinker. (To learn more about right brain/left brain differences check out our newest page at

In fact the other day he said to me, "Rebekah. Next time I have a large project to complete, REMIND ME to use the mindmap. I was feeling so scattered and stressed out about all of the details involved in completing the project, and I feel so much better now that I did my mindmap."

It really works. You can find the tickler and Mind Map Software at

Rebekah Slatkin is a professional organizer dedicated to getting people organized through hands-on decluttering sessions, teleconferencing, coaching, and her website

Visit and subscribe to Organewz, her ezine dedicated to organized living and get organizing tips and downloads- free.

In The News:

Beginners Guide to Self-Organizing Maps  Analytics India Magazine

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