5 Keys to Tame a Wandering Mind

5 Keys to Tame a Wandering Mind

The topic of ADHD is a touchy one for a lot of people, myself included. Mainly, because I think that it is an over-used diagnosis in kids and now even in adults. I’ll admit, the first time I heard about “adult-level” ADHD I thought to myself, “gee, that sounds like me.” Not being one to self-diagnose, I thought about it and came to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with my brain, I just have a wandering mind. I know this isn’t a boat that I am alone in, either. Our minds tend to run around like a herd of cats, and those same mental tendencies that made it difficult to study as children now make it hard to perform tasks as an adult. There is even research that suggests that a wandering mind can lead to depression and anxiety. Sure, I bet there is a pill you can take that will help wrangle in that wandering mind, but at what cost? Over the years, I’ve put together some tricks that can help reign in that wandering mind of yours and help you succeed in whatever it is that you set out to do.
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Define your Objective

Whether you are setting out to accomplish a task for work or a more personal goal, the key here is being specific about what is that you are setting out to do. Setting out to “be better” at something isn’t a goal that you can easily track. You need to define exactly what it is that you want to succeed at before you can take any other steps towards achieving that goal. Think of the difference between having a defined destination on a map and just heading in a general direction in which to travel. Yes, if you just strike out in a direction you might get to where you are going, but when you have a destination you can figure out exactly how to get there.

Build your WorkfLow

I harp on workflows a lot with people, simply because we all work differently. The important thing about workflows is to establish when you do things, not how. For instance, if your brain is clearer in the mornings before the day has time to pile up on you, that’s when you should focus on creativity or detail work. If you are more scatterbrained in the afternoons, that’s when you should focus on mundane, less detail-oriented tasks. Everyone if different in this regard. I personally am more creative at night, which is when I write. Find the when of your workflow to use your brain’s natural cycles to your advantage.
Read: Research Shows that Keeping a Journal is Great for the Mind, Body, and Soul

Make Success Tangible

One thing I have always said about making goals a reality is to make them tangible. I am a huge fan of lists. I make lists for everything, both through apps like Wunderlist and even just on pieces of paper all over my desk. There is something about making a list and clearing it that makes whatever you are working on tangible. Each checkmark is like a little victory. Where it really comes in handy with a mind that wanders around like a vagrant, is that you can easily look back at what you’ve done and what still needs to be done no matter how far your mind has careened off-topic.

Make Yourself Accountable

I am a huge fan of journaling, and I always have been. One thing that can keep your mind on track is to make yourself accountable. This can come in the form of status updates via email to coworkers involved in your project, or even just a personal blog to keep track of progress for personal goals. Sometimes knowing that even one other person is keeping an eye on your progress can be motivation enough to keep you going. We all need a certain level of that “pat on the back” validation from others, it’s in our nature.
Read: 20 Amazing Facts To Blow Your Mind.

Set a “Finishline”

Just as it is important to define what you want to do, it is equally important to figure out when you are done. For some things, like a project at work, this is easy because the task is finished. But, for goals of a more personal nature – you need to be able to define what is done and what needs to be finished. I have always been guilty of starting 5 projects at once and not finishing any of them. Define what you want to do, and follow through its completion.

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