I’ve talked a lot about mental health the past couple of years, but I recognize that it is important in my life and other people’s lives as well. I’ve also learned that you can’t force your brain to do things well, but you can trick your brain every now and then.
First things first, I’m not a master at this. I’m still learning, still figuring things out. Second, what works for me may not work for you. But if you’re still interested in learning how to trick your brain, then read on!
- Chunk things out- When I start spiraling, my room gets messy, and other things start slipping away. So to get things in order, I’ll often chunk things out together to save my energy. Maybe I’ll work just on laundry one day. I can sweep and straighten up my desk the next. Then I’ll focus on the bathroom a few days later. If I have the energy, I’ll do a lot of work. But most of the time, spoons are limited and run out quickly. In addition, if my weekends are busy (I have plans every weekend in April), then I can’t dedicate the time to spend a whole day cleaning.
- Plan ahead- when I can tell I have energy, I like to plan ahead with what I’m going to get done. I knew my laundry was getting bad, so I planned to take care of that yesterday.
- Work smarter, not harder- Yesterday, I had to wash and dry my dirty laundry. I also had to hang up some of the clean clothes that were on my floor. Rather than using an extra spoon or two to hang up the clean clothes that were on the floor while my other clothes were being cleaned, I just waited. That way I could put away all of my clean laundry at once.
- Clear distractions as much as possible- I’ve been on a good reading streak lately, and I knew that was one of the things I wanted to do. I finished a few chapters while my laundry was going. Then, I put my bookmark in my book and put it away. I also utilize the app Forest, which I’ve talked about before but will mention in my next point.
- Set a timer or timed deadline- Like I said, I use Forest. I love it. You set the timer for how long you want, and then you stay off your phone. While that timer is counting, it grows a virtual tree or bush. If you leave the app, then your tree will die. I often do 30 minutes, but you can do up to 120. Using the app and timer as my guide, I can try to challenge myself with how much I can get done in the set time.
- Separate the work out- This is similar to chunking things out, but this makes them even smaller. For example, I put my laundry away yesterday. I separate my clothes into piles based on where they go and what they are. Then I put one pile away at a time. In addition, my closet is color coordinated. I’ll split up my closet shirts farther into piles by color. If my brain tells me that hanging up 12 shirts is too many, I can trick it by telling it that I can hang up two gray shirts. Then I can tell myself that I have the energy to hang up 2 green shirts. After all, it’s only 2 shirts. And I keep going like that. Then all of a sudden, all my shirts are hung up.
- Do small things when you notice them- I noticed this morning that I had Bobby pins all over my bathroom counter. It took me less than a minute and very little energy to put them in their appropriate container. And then it was done. I didn’t have to stress or worry about it. Some of the bigger task obviously need to wait and be planned, but take care of smaller tasks when you notice them.
- Reward yourself with something tangible- Kids often get gold stars or maybe an allowance when they do what they’re supposed to. You don’t have to stop rewarding yourself just because you’re an adult. Find new things to reward yourself with.
- Have some sort of organization- I mentioned that my closet was color coordinated. All of my hangers stay in the appropriate spot. Then, when I’m going to put the clothes away, all I have to do is reach the hanger in the appropriate color. Similarly, the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen stay relatively organized. So when doing dishes and putting them away, it’s just filling in the space or restocking the cabinet. By keeping things organized, it’s easier to clean and straighten up or get things done.
- Prioritize what you need to do- I’m a list person. If I know what all I need to do, then I can recognize and sort out what needs to be done first. It’s less of a disjointed mess if I know what I can do in order.
I think that’s it. I can’t always make my brain cooperate, but these are some of my most helpful tips to trick my brain to doing the stuff I need to do. I hope at least one of them helps you. Life is already hard enough even without your brain going against you. Tricking your brain just a little bit can help you have a more productive day and maybe life overall.