5 Steps to Eliminate Mental Clutter

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It has been said that, “Simplicity is the byproduct of FOCUS.”

In the midst of today’s minimalism and decluttering craze, we have found that sometimes decluttering is not just about items around the house, but more about where our mental, emotional, and physical energy is going.

Often, these are intangible things – things that we cannot see or touch – but we feel the effect on us. Really, it is about how to prioritize. It is about getting rid of what does not matter much, to give room to what matters most. Prioritization is especially important for the emerging leader to learn early on.

So how do we eliminate our mental clutter and prioritize? How do we focus on the thoughts, habits, and relationships that truly matter, rather than on the little or insignificant things that do not actually move us closer to our goals?


  1. Take Inventory. What is your goal this month? This year? In five years?
  2. Decide WHY. Why is that your goal? What will accomplishing this do in your life or create for your family?
  3. Focus on Who, not What. Who matters most? To whom do you have a responsibility? Maybe it is to your family, or a team you lead. People, not things, are typically the best indicator of what is truly priority for you.
  4. Filter a brainstorm of what’s important through the above-mentioned questions. What do you need to do? What should you do? What are things you simply want to do, but are not required?
  5. Isolate. Get rid of anything that does not get you closer to your goals or to those who matter most. Isolate the thoughts, habits, and actions which do move you forward. It is as much about what we say “yes” to as it is about those things to which we say “no”.

Let’s go through an example of this process…

A husband and father works full time and is starting his own business. He currently picks up overtime, plays in a basketball league, enjoys “guy time” on Saturday nights, and loves ESPN. He takes inventory and decides that his goal is to launch his business this year and turn a profit in five years. Why? He wants to provide more for his family. He thinks about who matters most – his wife, his children, and his investor. He brainstorms all of the things he needs, should, and wants to do, and filters that through his goal, his “why”, and who is important. He isolates what is necessary from what is not, cutting out overtime and the league. Saturday nights will be for family time. Instead of watching ESPN, he will use that time to work on his business or meet with his investor.

What this man has done is remove the clutter occupying his mental, emotional, and physical energy so that he can FOCUS only on what will move his life and, most importantly, his family forward.

It may not be easy, but when you free up your mental capacity, you can begin to fill that space with focused effort toward worthwhile dreams, goals, and people. You will look back in five years and be so glad you made these decisions now, we promise!

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14

Kelley and Jennette Bremer5 Steps to Eliminate Mental Clutter