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Take a Mental Dump

When was the last time you took a mental dump? For me, it was Friday—and what a relief it was! You're probably thinking "TMI," right? A mental dump has nothing to do with the restroom; instead, it's how we handle the information going on in our head.

How often do you feel overwhelmed by the number of things you need to get done? How many checklists do you create? Do you ever get distracted when you're in the middle of something—and suddenly an hour has passed and you haven't finished what you started?

We live in a world where we're doing more things in a short amount of time and information is coming at us at record speeds. Twenty years ago, our brains were conditioned to receive information, process it, and store what we took in. Today, most of us don't store information. We don't need to. We have cell phones that store numbers, calendars to remind us where to go, and task lists to remind us what to do. If we're faced with a question we don't know the answer to, we "Google it." It's simply not necessary to store information; we just need to know where to find it.

Think of your brain as a computer. All computers have memory and RAM. Memory refers to the amount of storage you have for saving things. RAM is the speed at which your computer processes. If you have too many things stored, it slows down your processor. Simple, right? Your brain works the same way. The more you store, the slower it could become.

A mental dump is simply getting rid of the clutter. Get everything out of your brain and put it somewhere—so it doesn't slow down your psychic RAM.

I decided to give this philosophy a try. Friday, I created my mental dump list for the weekend. My goal was to focus only on things on my dump list, and not be derailed by other things that popped up. I put everything on this list, including laundry, cleaning, and planting flowers. I included things I've wanted to do, such as whiten my teeth, read a book, and catch up on what's stored in my DVR. I started the weekend thinking I'd never get half the list done. But I learned I was more efficient, and got almost everything done on the list.

It was tough not getting distracted. I came across a closet that really needed attention. I started to dive in, but caught myself and focused on the list at hand. I got more done over the weekend than I had in a long time, and I wasn't stressed about it. The reality is, your list will never be complete. But if you prioritize and manage your distractions, you could be more efficient. Whether you need a dump at work or home, consider the fact that your brain is a processor—then free up some space and improve your efficiency.

This article previously appeared in Group Travel Supplier.
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