-Written by SIYP Team
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Hoarding is the compulsive purchasing, acquiring, searching, and saving of items that have little or no value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members. “
Generally, when the experts refer to hoarding, however, they are talking about hoarding physical items.
But can’t this definition apply to “mental hoarding” too? After all, when we “hang on” to old ideas, notions, concepts and beliefs that no longer serve any purpose in our lives, it can create those same negative effects.
When you hold on to old ideas – even if they are no longer working for you – it closes the door to new ones and can inhibit productivity, or hinder efforts to be more productive.
This creates a life that is stale and without energy; a condition ripe for anxiety and depression. Of course, when you are in either of those states, there is little room for joy as well.
Joy is essential to our well-being and really, is at the heart of the search so many of us are on for greater balance in our lives.
Additionally, mental hoarding forms a barrier or block to productivity, something vital and necessary for forward motion in our careers and in our lives. The desire for work life balance is discussed a lot these days from people of both sexes, from all walks of life, and in every vocation. Productivity is one of the greatest keys to achieving a balanced life.
When we are not productive, things we do in our lives take longer and are more mentally (and sometimes physically) tedious and painful than they have to be. Often, when we catch ourselves falling into this state of non-action, it’s because we need to let go of old ideas and concepts and find new ones that serve us better and more completely.
This change stimulates us and helps us find new solutions to current – and even old – problems. Additionally, when we become more productive, we also find ourselves empowered to do more in less time—something also essential to work life balance.
Here are 3 ways you can stop mental hoarding and be more productive by the end of the week:
Start Meditating to Be More Productive
One of the biggest keys to meditation is clearing your mind of all thoughts. Basically, you ‘quiet the noise’ in your head. You can start with just 10 – 15 minutes or if you are more ambitious, go for half an hour.
Before you begin to start meditating, consciously think about all the thoughts or ideas you have that you believe are holding you back from your ability to be more productive. Try not to pass judgment. Just “ask” yourself to send them away during the quiet time of your meditation and that when you have finished, to only bring back ideas and thoughts that will best serve you in your life—whether that be personally or in your career.
Then, just sit quietly for the time you have put aside. You can play soft music or listen to a guided meditation. The key is just to not consciously think about anything. Let your mind go blank or focus only on the guided meditation you have decided to play.
When you are finished, again, don’t try to “see” or “check” if anything has changed. Just trust that your intuitive self will have rid you of any ideas or beliefs that are keeping you stuck and hindering your productivity and/or your ability to achieve the things you want and need in your life.
Become More Productive By Making Lists
This may seem contrary to meditation but this is “conscious attention”, which is better than the unconscious attention we give to whatever it is we are mentally hoarding. Sit down somewhere you can concentrate and not be interrupted. Now, make a list of everything you feel is hindering your ability to be more productive. This may be things like procrastination, lack of information, limiting beliefs, disorganization, and more. Write them ALL down.
Now, go back and for each one, come up with three alternatives for what you are currently thinking, believing, or doing. And last, for each one, chose an action from the alternatives you will commit to doing every time your mentally hoarded ideas or automatic actions rear their head.
Be More Productive By Keeping A Journal
When you catch yourself thinking, believing, or acting out an idea or thought pattern you have mentally hoarded but no longer serves or works for you, write it down. WHY did you think it was the best option or course of action at the time? What OTHER option(s) did you have that could have created a different outcome? Would that outcome have been better? Would a different way of thinking or a different action have helped you to be more productive and/or produced a more desired result?
Again, this goes back to conscious attention. Over time, you will begin to actually see how these old ideas didn’t help – and perhaps even hurt – what you were trying to accomplish. This is so much better and a greater long-term change than anything anyone else could tell or teach you because it comes from your greatest teacher of all—you.