Clutter in your mind or spread in your surroundings can adversely impact your productivity levels. With your brain having too much on it, it is likely to have a hard time focusing attention where It should. Thoughts run from one corner of your head to another make it seem impossible to get stuff done. This is why it is crucial to delete unimportant thoughts and compartmentalize important ones. But how can you do that? It’s definitely not as simple as picking up a broom and cleaning your room.

Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can declutter your mind to ward off stress and focus better. With these tips you’ll notice a boost in your productivity markers as well. To get started, here are 12 ways you can declutter your brain:

1 – Prioritize and make a to-do list

When you find your mind filled to the brim with haphazard thoughts and don’t know where and how to start your day, it’s time for you to prioritize. Make up your mind about which activities and tasks need a top space in your routine and which can wait. Write down a to-do list if a mental one keeps disturbing you. Keep checking items off this list as you get them done. This way, you will be able to see your progress and focus better as you get a boost in self-esteem no matter how small.

2 – Clear your head with meditation or exercise

Consider meditating. Meditation helps you concentrate on just a single thing and clears your mind of unimportant thoughts. Similarly, exercise also helps you focus. You can also practice yoga if that suits you. All these physical activities will not only put unnecessary bits in your mind in the trash, but they’ll also take some burden off your shoulders by relieving you of stress. Let’s not forget that all three come with other benefits as well including a sharpening of your cognitive abilities.

3 – Write it down to get it off your chest

Journaling is not just popular because its pages make for aesthetic Instagram photos but also because of the many benefits it provides. One of them is that it helps you declutter your mind. Moreover, expressive writing also reduces stress as well as anxiety as per research. So, get all that has been weighing you down off yourself by writing your feelings. This way, you will be able to focus better on other matters.

4 – Don’t shuffle too many tasks at once

You can also ensure that you function at your most productive levels by not overloading yourself with too many different tasks at one time. Most would argue that multitasking helps get things done faster. However, this is far from the truth. When you multitask, your brain doesn’t even get a single thing done and may feel directionless. Research also shows how multitasking slows you down. Therefore, get more done by focusing on one thing at a time.

5 – Restrict information consumption

Next, limit the amount of information that flows into your brain. Too much information can cause brain clutter. This is why you should minimize your use of social media as well as reduce the time you spend watching television. Be particularly mindful of not scrolling through social media when you start your day. Also, don’t end your day by watching TV or Facebooking. These habits leave a bad impact on not only your eyesight but your brain as well.

6 – Connect with your creative self

Another thing that you can do to declutter your brain; unleash your creative side. If you’ve ever enjoyed a creative hobby quite a bit such as drawing, making music, creating crafts, etc. you should consider pursuing it again if you’re finding your brain cluttered. Revisit your inner child and explore your talents to relieve stress and do something that you enjoy. While at it, don’t think about work or emotional responsibilities.

7 – Take a break

Take regular breaks. You can employ the pomodoro technique here in which you focus only on work for a whole 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. A case study shows that this technique gets work worth 40 hours done in 16.7 hours. This allows you to get way more done than you can without taking breaks. Also, take a day off. Don’t work the entire week. That would only lower your productivity, focus, and also increase your risk for developing depression.

8 – Spend time with yourself

Surrounding yourself with people, work, and problems all the time can feel suffocating. Which is why it is a great idea to take time out for your own self. You can spend this time by reading or doing other such things that you enjoy. However, don’t crowd your me-time with activities. Take some time for contemplation and then some for doing absolutely nothing. Just breathe and let your brain relax and calm down.

9 – Decide routine things beforehand

Don’t waste your time or pack your head with thoughts of what you should wear for the day or cook. Have a set plan for these things so that they don’t occupy any place in your head. For instance, you can make a routine for what you are going to eat throughout the week or wear for the week on Sunday. By having such routinely things pre-decided, you can better focus on more important matters such as work.

10 – Talk and get things out

Rather than letting emotions pent-up and make a home in your brain where they are allowed to bounce hither and thither, talk to someone about what’s frustrating or upsetting you. By sharing your emotions, you will be able to get them out of your head. If your thoughts are too disturbing and you think your stress has the potential to get out of hand, consider going for therapy. By talking to a therapist, you will be able to save yourself from mood-related disorders as well.

11 – Solve problems soon

When you ignore a problem, it keeps banging on the walls of your head. This is why it is better to find solutions rather than let problems be. When you pay no attention to problems, they pay it to you and eventually grow till you are forced to address them. By that time, they may become too big to handle. If you want to move on, declutter your brain, and take an issue off your mind, be decisive and solve your problems.

12 – Clear up your surroundings

While this is the last step in this list, it should be your first. Declutter your room, your home, your surroundings to destress. You can start by cleaning your home, organizing things, throwing out unnecessary stuff, and then move to cleaning your inbox, friends’ list, phone messages, and even the files on your computer. Science proves how tidying up and cleaning litter can positively impact your brain by decluttering it as well

To sum up, some ways you can declutter your brain to attain peace and productivity include getting creative, cleaning up your physical surroundings, maintaining a to-do list, journaling, solving problems instead of ignoring them, and more.