How to Organize Your Mind | Ashley Varner

How to Organize Your Mind

A cluttered life is the sign of a cluttered mind. We all have days when we feel frenzied, but if you are living in a constant state of chaos or “flying by the seat of your pants” then it’s time to organize your mind.

Resources Mentioned:

Renew180 Mastermind: 180Confidence
Weekly Reset Guide (FREE): https://ashleyvarner.com/reset
The Mindset Reset: https://ashleyvarner.com/mindset
Reducing Stress with Routines (FREE): https://ashleyvarner.com/routines-download

Highlights From the Episode:

A cluttered life is usually the sign of a cluttered mind. You know, we all have days that we feel kind of frenzied, but if you are living in a constant state of chaos or just flying by the seat of your pants, then it is time to get your mind organized.

So today I’m going to be talking all about practical ways you can do this. We have been talking about stress and how a cluttered mind kind of corresponds to stress all this month. But today we’re talking about kind of the practical steps that you can take to get less stress in your life by organizing your mind, let’s get started.

So welcome back my friends to “The Renewed Mind”. I am so glad that you are here, my name is Ashley Varner, and I am a Bible teacher and Christian life coach. And I really work to help women to take their thoughts captive and learn how to control their emotions so that they can get the actions and really the productivity and the results that they want. Meet their goals and really transform their life by renewing their mind first.

So all of this month, like I said, we are learning about stress and how the different things in our lives can impact it. We talked about routines and clutter and weekly resets, and I really wanted to share and finish out this month, talking about the practical ways that you can reduce stress in your life. And really that comes from organizing your mind in a way that leads to less stress. So remember that it’s not the circumstances in your life that are causing your stress. There is this buffer in between there that is your thoughts. So it’s not the circumstances that lead to that, but it’s your thoughts about your circumstances that can cause stress in your life.

So if you are struggling with stress, let’s look at some of the things that you are doing as far as organizing your mind and then making some small changes to those so that you can have less stress. Whenever you are organizing your mind, there are two, actually three different areas that we do this in. But before we do any of that, I want to remind you that your brain has limits.

Realize Your Brain has Limit

So, so often whenever I’m working with women, they don’t have a method to write things down. They just expect their brain to remember all of it. And this is a surefire way to have more stress in your life because you’re depending on your brain to remember all of those appointments exactly, all the notes or times, those recurring tasks that you have to do. And instead of writing them down, we’re trying to rely on our minds to do this. That just adds another layer of stress onto your mind to say, oh yeah, I can’t forget this. I can’t forget this, on top of everything else that we’ve got going on, right?

So you have appointments that you have to remember, and tasks that need to be completed. You have medications that certain people in your life have to take, or that you have to take. And then on top of all that, you get asked what’s for dinner. So there’s only so much that your mind can handle, you have limits to your mind. So it’s important to write things down.

I would definitely say, just have a system that works for you. It needs to be able to be with you at all times, whether that is kind of a paper planner or a digital form. And then it has to be something that you are willing to maintain.

So just to give an example of this, if you are having a system where you’ve put all of your information into a calendar, but you don’t continue to use it, it’s not gonna be any help to you. You have to get to the place where as soon as something comes up, you’re grabbing your phone, you’re typing it in. You’re writing it to maintain the system.

Organize Your To-Do List

Now, as we go through this, there are three areas that I want to help you practically change and organize for your mind. The first is your to-do list, so I currently, some of you have asked me what I personally use. I use an app called “Todoist”, and it is a great app. I like it because other people can share it. In the past I have used Apple Reminders, which I may end up going back to that after a while, sometimes I like to switch things up, but right now I like Todoist, because one of the features they have is you can put a due date on every task.

This is a tip that I have for you, if you have a to-do list, whether it’s written out or digital, put a due date on every single task, because what that does is it divides up your tasks into days. If you have recurring tasks that you have to do, like say every month, so with the new month, you have like 10 things that you have to do, don’t just put them at the first of the month, spread ’em out so that you’re doing one or two a day.

Maybe for that first week, you kind of load that up there, and then, you know, hey, if I get something done today, I get everything done on my list today, I can look at tomorrow’s list and get ahead of the game. I do this on a regular basis. If my to-do list on that particular day is complete. I’ll just look at the upcoming tasks and say, okay, I could accomplish this today. Or, you know, maybe I need to move this to another day if appointments come up or things like that.

Now, another tip I would have in your to-do list is to complete tasks ahead of time. And I kind of alluded to this just now, but if you have a task that needs to be done, say July 25th, and you complete it on July 1st, what you’re doing is you are saving yourself all the stress from those 25 days. Instead of, you still have to get it done, right? Whether you do it on the first or the 25th, but you’re saving all of those days in between and all of the stress in between those days, by accomplishing it ahead of time.

This is something that I teach quite a bit in “Renew 180”. It is the six-month program that I teach and I take women through, where there are self-paced videos that they watch every month, every week of the month. And then I also have coaching calls where I work with them on individual tasks, but we take an entire month and look at our environment and how we can transform our thinking to transform our lives. And one of the things that I teach in there, is I take them behind the scenes to my to-do list and I teach them something called procrastinating in reverse.

So procrastinating in reverse is the idea that if you have a task that’s due on Friday, say your boss gives you a report that they need done by four o’clock on Friday. If you, what usually happens is there’s nothing done, nothing done, nothing done until about four or three o’clock on Friday, you get this big burst of adrenaline, get it done. And then you turn it in at four o’clock. So if it takes one hour to complete that report, what I wanna encourage you to do is to take that one hour and do it on Monday because yeah, we think it only takes an hour or sometimes we even convince ourselves that we work better under pressure, but that’s not true. It is just the idea that whatever amount of time that you give something to complete is actually how long it’s gonna take.

So if you move that hour to say Monday, you complete that in that hour, you get that burst of adrenaline and get it done then, then you have this entire week where if you want to tweak it, you wanna edit it. You wanna make sure, get that to that A plus quality. Then you have that time to do it. But what I want you to see is you actually save time by procrastinating in reverse, because even if you don’t complete or don’t start working on that report until say Friday at three o’clock, that whole week it’s on your to-do list that whole week it’s on your mind.

You’re thinking, okay, I know I have to get that report done. I have to get that report done. You’re spending time thinking about doing something when if you complete it ahead of time, you do that procrastinating in reverse, you save yourself all of that time throughout the week.

Organize Your Calendar

The next area of organizing your mind is organizing your calendar. Now, if I could give one tip to you to do this, it is to go digital. Now I have seen a lot of women using paper planners, and I always recommend to just try a digital planner for say a month and see what you think, because you know, the sticker planners, the happy planners and all that, they’re pretty, but are they as functional as they possibly could be?

I think that they eat up your time, if you have recurring tasks, say trash day happens every Wednesday at your house. Every Wednesday, you’re penciling in trash day, then you’re picking out the little trash sticker and sticking it on there. And then it just takes so much time.

For me, on my calendar, years and years ago, I put trash day and I clicked on it to recur every Wednesday. I never had to worry about that again. I don’t have to add trash day on every single week of my calendar. And for me, efficiency is where it’s at. I wanna make sure that I am as efficient, as efficient as I can be with my time. And that means being able to have those recurring tasks.

Now, if sticker planners are your hobby, that’s completely fine, but still, make that like a scrapbooking type hobby and put your appointments and things digital. Because the other thing about having a system is having it with you all the time, now, if I put something on my calendar, on my iPad, it’s gonna hop up on my computer or on my phone.

It’s gonna show up on my husband’s calendar on the ones that we share. And that’s the next benefit of having a digital planner is if you use something like Google Calendar or iCal, what you have is the ability to share that calendar with other people, so I have several calendars on my setup and I share them with different people. So I have a couple of assistants and they have access to some of my calendars. My husband has access to our family calendars. Once my boys are old enough and they’re adding things to the calendar, they will have access to that calendar, things like that.

I love being able to share specific calendars, but I also like being able to divide up my life by calendar. So, like I said, I have a home and family calendar. We have a shop schedule calendar for our work. We have one for foster care appointments. I have one for this channel. I have one for our other businesses. So as you go through and you’re organizing your life, you can click on all of the calendars and see the big picture of everything that’s happening. Or you can just lower that to just one calendar at a time, whenever you’re adding tasks, it makes it very user-friendly and customizable to your life and your specific schedule.

Now, I kind of already alluded to this, but one benefit of a digital calendar is having the ability to have recurring tasks. So that might be like the trash day, where you have things that are every week. It might be if you’re planning out your meal planning, that you say, you know what? We really liked this meal. I think that we could have this meal every six weeks. And that would be a great rotation, you can set that up. And then your meal planning is completed. This is something that I have been playing around with. I like to record what we eat, like our meals every night, so that I can say, if I don’t know what’s for dinner, I can look back at previous weeks and see what’s there.

So there are a lot of options here, and again, in “Renew 180”, there is a complete tutorial. I take you behind the scenes of my own calendar, and I take you through and show you exactly how to set yours up to make it work for you. So if you are interested in that, that program is a six-month program where we discuss confidence.

We talk about your environment, but it’s really all about renewing your mind to transform your life. So if that’s something that you are looking for, if you wanna make a huge transformation in your life within six months, this is gonna be the program for you. It is kind of a hybrid between teaching on video like this, and then also live coaching and there’s email support there. So if you are looking for something like that from a biblical perspective, make sure to check it out.

What You Put in is What Will Come Out

The last thing that I wanted to share in regards to organizing your mind is to be paying attention to what you’re putting in. So what you put in is what is going to come out.

I want you to think about the goals that you have for your life. If your goal is to save money, or if your goal is to grow closer to the Lord, okay? Maybe write those things down, have them in your mind.

Then I want you to go and think back, maybe look at your history on YouTube of what videos you’ve been watching or your Netflix account or whatever. Look at the media consumption that you’re taking in. And I wanna ask you, do those line up, because what you put in is what is going to come out.

Let’s just use an example, I recently had a goal that I wanted to kind of set up a pantry in our house that could last as we could eat out of our pantry. So I wanted to have kind of a rotation of foods that I knew at any time, I would have the foods that I needed to have those meals.

And so what I started doing was watching videos on pantry prep of stocking your pantry. And what that did is it motivated me. It got my mind thinking about what I wanted to accomplish. And I started building up my pantry.

Now, if I had and wanted to build up my pantry, but instead of looking for videos on stockpiling for a pantry or stocking your pantry, instead of looking for those videos, what if I just searched, traveling to Paris videos or like Paris videos, I probably wouldn’t have accomplished my goal of getting stock in my pantry because I was watching videos about Paris. It probably would make me wanna go travel, right?

So think about how your media consumption is matching up to your goals and the things that you want to accomplish, because if you wanna save money, but all you’re looking at is beauty halls and clothing halls. It’s probably not going to help you to get to your goal, right? We have to organize our minds and really be aware of the kind of media that’s coming in.

Now in this same regard, I really think that having your to-do list organized, having your calendar organized, and then also, it’s not that you’re organizing your media, but you’re just being aware of it. If you can organize your mind in those three areas, it lessens your stress so much because what you’re doing is you’re setting yourself up for success. So there’s less chance of things falling through the cracks.

There’s less chance of you missing an appointment, in Digital Calendars, you can even set a reminder to like 15 minutes before. My assistant likes to, if I have her, if I ask her to like pick up something the next time she’s at Walmart, she will put on her Todoist a reminder that when she pulls into Walmart, it pops up and says, hey, don’t forget to purchase this.

That is something that takes the stress out, so that whenever she comes to work the next morning, and I say, hey, did you pick up that toner for the printer? She’s got it right there because she has organized her to-do list, she’s organized her mind. Whenever you do things like that, it automatically sets you up for success. It automatically sets up your productivity and lowers your stress by just living intentionally.

All right, that is all that I have for you guys this week. I hope that you enjoyed this entire series on stress. You know, we talked a lot about the mindset work ahead of time in previous videos, but I wanted to give kind of the practical side of things as well.

If this is something that really interests you and you wanna dive deeper into how I handle my inbox, like right now my inbox has maybe two emails in it, it is super organized. It helps me to organize my mind. If you want to teach on that, you can let me know, and I can do some here, but if you really wanna get in-depth and really be able to pick my brain on how to be more organized and efficient with your mindset, make sure to check out Renew 180. That is gonna be the place where you’re gonna get the most personalized teaching and coaching from me.

Renew180 Mastermind: 180Confidence

I also wanted to let you know, if that is not in your budget, you can use some of my free resources if you go to Ashleyvarner.com/free, you can look at my weekly reset guide.

Weekly Reset Guide (FREE): Weekly Reset

And also I have a free guide on reducing stress with routines. So either one of those it’s gonna help you out.

Reducing Stress with Routines (FREE): Reducing Stress with Routines

I am so thankful that you are here and continue to watch. It really means so much to me. I will see you guys next week. We’ll have a brand new topic for next month. I hope you guys have a great week.

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- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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