Thinking Clearly in A Cluttered World
Thinking is something that we are doing constantly, consciously and subconsciously. But what we aren’t doing constantly is thinking clearly. Have you ever had moments where it is like your mind is chasing its own tail? You aren’t alone! But if we can eliminate more of those moments from our day, we can optimise our thinking for deep performance!
The Value of Thinking Clearly
When we aren’t thinking clearly, especially in professional contexts, we are essentially wasting precious time. Studies have shown that the average person is distracted every 11 minutes, and once you’re distracted, it takes an average of 23 minutes to get fully, physically and mentally, back to what you were doing before you got distracted. It’s proven that the average person loses around 3 hours of precious time to distraction every day. That is a huge loss, especially over the course of the year and a lifetime!
In this information-saturated day and age, we are constantly distracted, and our minds constantly ticking thinking about endless streams of things. It could seem almost impossible to master clear thinking in this day and age, but it is possible! If we can master the art of thinking clearly, in conjunction with distraction-reducing techniques, we could be saving so much time! I've written previously on distraction-reducing techniques, but today we're focusing more on the how of thinking clearly.
What is The Art of Thinking Clearly
It really is comprised of a bunch of interrelated skills that culminate in the art of thinking clearly. It's the ability to articulate ideas in concise and understandable ways, to be able to remain logical, create informed conclusions, and the ability to reflect and infer lessons onto future endeavours. It is the combination of logic, understanding, and awareness. The enemy of clear thought is brain fog, overwhelm, and task saturation.
It is pretty ironic that the places where we are most required to think clearly, work and professional contexts, are often the places most densely filled with distractions and the places where we struggle to concentrate the most! In the office, you’re often navigating co-workers, a constant flow of information, emails, phone calls, impromptu meetings, and so much more. It is no wonder that we are finding it harder than ever to actually keep a conscious strain of thought.
In a cluttered world, thinking clearly looks like the capacity to create mental space to focus, to be able to keep up with change, and manage distractions. It sounds tricky, and it certainly can be, but I’m about to give you some guidance and tips on how you can begin creating mental space and how to manage distractions, so that thinking clearly is not a ‘sometimes occurrence’ but an everyday experience.
Thinking clearly begins with awareness. How many times have you found yourself on a mental tangent with no real idea that you’re off with the fairies? I would argue that it isn’t often that we catch ourselves before we’re deep in the abyss of endless thoughts. To begin thinking clearer, we have to be aware that we aren’t thinking clearly. Once you know you’re not thinking clearly, you need to begin to remove and eliminate distractions. Whether it is leaving your phone in another room while you are working, or the ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your laptop or phone, whatever you need to do to eliminate distractions, do that!
The next stop is fuelling your body and your brain with the right nutrients and sustenance to be able to think clearly. Have you ever tried to concentrate while hungry? It just doesn’t work! Make sure that what you’re putting into your body, is actually going to help you get into a clear-thinking space. Another helpful thing is to ensure that your workspace is conducive to a clear headspace. Clutter in your spaces = clutter in your mind! A clear space = more space in your mind.
Get into a work routine with sufficient breaks. When you are using a lot of your mental capacity in focused work, you need to give your mind a break more often to ensure that your focused times of work are truly focused! The human attention span is not capable of long periods of focus, it needs to rest to stay at peak productivity.
Thinking Clearly – The Direct Route to Deep Performance
These days there truly is an art to thinking clearly in such a distraction-dense world! But, as we have seen, there are plenty of little things that you can implement to begin thinking clearly. Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you are able to experience a clear mind more often! That is the ultimate goal, to experience clear thinking more often. When we are experiencing it more, we are on the most direct route to deep performance!
EU Business School. (2021). How to think clearly: 7 steps for success. EU Business School. https://www.euruni.edu/blog/how-to-think-clearly-7-tips-for-success/