10 Ways to Declutter Your Brain and Be More Present

Photo courtesy of http://blogs.thenewstribe.com

Something quite catastrophic happened to me yesterday… I left my iPhone at home. Yes, you read that correctly. I was without my iPhone for an entire day. My husband had to call my work number *gasp* to reach me! Due to this day long “radio silence”, I had a chance to think about how constantly being plugged in to social media affects my brain. I have read a few different articles about it,  and I realized that my mind is, for the most part, constantly cluttered. I sat in silence in my car on the way to and from work. It was so hard. But I decided that I need to take charge of what goes into my brain. Here are 10 tips that I came up with:

1) Decide on a few times throughout the day to check social media. Only check it at those times.

2) When you are with real people, in real life, resist the urge to check social media. Matt and I had the chance to hear Seinfeld last month, and he put it this way: “would you find me rude if I opened a newspaper, put it in front of my face and started reading it while you were talking to me? What is the difference in doing it with a phone?” So true.

3) Decide the ratio to which you want to contribute to social media, vs. be a receiver of information. How much content are you taking in vs. creating? And if you are creating content, what effect is it having on your readers/viewers?

4) Try to practice some moments of silence when you can. We have become a nation of people who must be constantly entertained, engaged and informed. You do not have to fill every quiet moment with more brain clutter and digital noise. Get silent. See what thoughts you have- sort through them, recognize them. Be alone with yourself.

5) If you are doing something fun and want to share it, don’t hesitate! Take a bunch of photos! But wait for a lull in the conversation, let your friends know what you are doing, or a wait for a bathroom break to post it.

6) Be more aware of what you are filling your mind with throughout the day. If you are constantly checking Twitter, how are all of these voices in your mind affecting your thinking? Are you constantly comparing yourself to others in the digital realm? Are you thinking in “tweet form”- formulating your thoughts in the form of tweets and status updates? Then you need a break.

7) Take in content that is not digital. Read a book, view a painting, write a letter, sit outside and watch the wind in the trees, talk to a friend.  All of these things will help calm your mind and reprogram your brain.

8) Take charge of your social media. Don’t let it run you. Make the most of it, but remember that there is nothing that can replace real life, face-to-face relationships and community.

9) Go on an information diet. Decide what your values and goals are, and what you are interested in. Only take in content that will serve those goals. Do you want to learn more about a certain skill? Subscribe to a few blogs that have that topic, and then whittle them down based on quality of content.

10) Remember that taking in social media in moderation on a consistent basis is definitely not as easy, but probably a more beneficial approach over the long term than to binging on it and then taking a long digital vacation (Although that can be a good way to kick the whole “decluttering” thing off).

Here’s to a decluttered brain! Any other tips that you use in your daily life to do this?


  1. Hilary says

    Thanks Ashley! I really admire you for even being able to take breaks from it once in a while. You are definitely an inspiration!

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