“All definitions are a part of the intellectual dissection and compartmentalization of control.”
~ Bryant McGill (Author of Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life)
“My books begin when my characters’ coping mechanisms stop working”
~ Maria Semple
Have you ever felt like your brain is a mess with all the thoughts jumbled up in one big pile? You’re not alone. For most people, especially women, their thoughts are all entangled and turn from bad to worse eventually. What if there is a way to make your thoughts more organized so that things would be easier to deal with?
Deciding what information to remember and what to forget is a difficult skill that men have mastered better than women. Luckily, it can be learned like everything else- by practicing. It will take some time to get used to, but once you do, it’s repeatable.
If you’re someone who struggles with staying organized and focused on one task for a longer period of time, try these helpful tips for compartmentalizing your thoughts.
First, you need to get creative. Literally.
Take yourself out of the equation and think of your thoughts as just thoughts. Separate them like an idea at a time or a suggestion without putting emotions into them. Sounds hard, right? Keep reading.
In order to handle your thoughts, it’s helpful to separate them into different categories. For example, if you have a work project that’s stressing you out, you can put it in its own mental compartment so that it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life.
If you compartmentalize your thoughts, they will be easier to manage. That’s not all! You’ll also be able to think more clearly because compartmentalizing help with organizing and prioritizing.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything we need to do in today’s fast-paced world. One way to help manage this feeling is to break down your tasks into manageable pieces. For example, if you’re working on a project at work, break it down into smaller steps: first research the topic, then write a draft, then revise and edit. By taking things one step at a time, you can make progress on even the most overwhelming projects. Once you’ve completed a task, you get the satisfaction of having done something. And even if the project isn’t finished yet, know that you’re getting nearer to crossing that item off your list!
If there’s something you’re doing and it turns out that somebody else or something else is needed, recognize that and ask for what you need. If you need help, who is the best person to help you? If it’s a tool you need, what are your options? Once you figure that out, there’s no need to hold your breath while it’s being worked on by another person/team/program/tool. Don’t hold up everything for one thing; it won’t get done any faster. Just take a deep breath and move on to the next one on your list. One at a time, each task separate from the others.
There are many benefits to compartmentalizing your thoughts and ideas. It allows you to focus on each individual task without becoming overwhelmed with them all at once. It can help you remember information as well, and can also make it easier to find when you need it.
Any time that you have to divide your focus between various projects or tasks, whether with work or your personal life, it can help to compartmentalize your thoughts. For example, at work, you might need to set personal matters aside in order to do a better job on the task at hand. Or if you’re out with friends, you may need to put work-related worries behind you so that you can fully enjoy your time spent with them. Learning how to compartmentalize your thoughts helps make it easier for you to manage different aspects of your life and stay sane in the process!
Here are some tips to help you better compartmentalize your thoughts:
When you find your mind wandering to personal things while at work, make an effort to re-focus on the tasks in front of you. If you’re having trouble doing this, take a break for a few minutes and do something else that will help clear your head. Listen to music, sing along to your favorite song, or just stare into space until you can fully wipe away previous thoughts and reset your brain.
The great thing about setting up designated periods to focus on your personal and family matters is that you can relax and enjoy your time outside of work without stressors getting in the way.
Intrinsic motivation and taking time for yourself will help you maintain your sanity. Whether it’s a hobby, a workout routine, reading, dancing, singing, or watching TV- do something every day that you enjoy! Or use your precious time to do things that are just for you. You deserve it. And also, trust me, you need it. If you have to put that on the clock or on your calendar so you don’t forget, do it.
Finally, remember that it’s okay to have thoughts that don’t fit neatly into compartments. A few tips on how to deal with these situations so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Look at the bright side: trying to see the good in every situation, and choosing to focus on the positives instead of dwelling on the negatives. If you’re seeing as it doesn’t look like things will change anytime soon, take a break for a moment. When you come back to it, try looking at it from another angle and see if that makes it any better.
- A sense of humor is important. Laughter can help to diffuse tension and it’s a great way to cope with difficult times.
- Count your blessings always.
It might not seem like a big deal, but compartmentalization can actually help you to focus and get more done. Keeping our worries and thoughts contained can help reduce stress by providing a helpful space where we can manage them all.
In the past, the idea of compartmentalizing feelings and thoughts sounded impossible to me. It took practice and time, and continuous practice and more time. Why not give it a try for yourself and see how it works for you?
I hope this article has been helpful and your feedback is welcome. If you have tips and tricks for this topic as well, please feel free to share your thoughts!