Let's face it: You're busy. You likely have endless amounts of random information entering your brain, which often go unorganized, swimming around in your mind without direction and leaving you overwhelmed and unproductive. Thinking too much can cause excess stress and reduced productivity, but organizing your thoughts through the process of bundling can improve the way that your brain takes in and assigns information. Bundling involves organizing your thoughts into related clusters to assign association and meaning to bodies of information. There are a variety of bundling practices that can help you organize your thoughts to better direct your life, but here are 5 of the easiest and most effective bundling strategies:
- Put sticky notes on a wall. Take a stack of sticky notes and place yourself near a blank wall. Write down one thought on each sticky note - whatever relevant thoughts come to mind - and stick the note on the wall. After you have written down all of your current thoughts, start sorting them into related groups. This will allow you to have a clear visual representation of your thoughts and how they relate to one another.
- Create a mind map. A mind map allows you to connect different thoughts together. Start by writing a single thought in the middle of a piece of paper, then draw a line from that thought out towards the paper’s edge, connecting it to a similar thought. You can then continue adding thoughts to the map, connecting items that are related to each other.
- Find a single word for each thought. A great way to help classify and categorize your thoughts and to permanently store them in your mind is to label chunks of similar information with a single word or term. This simple technique allows you to take control when you are bombarded with information and makes it easier for your brain to recall something when prompted.
- Develop a list. Nothing is more old-fashioned but more effective than a simple list. Start by writing one thought on each line of paper, continuing until you’ve written down all of your thoughts. Once everything is on paper, you can go back and sort the list into smaller lists.
- Take notes on index cards. Index cards are a versatile way to keep track of your thoughts. There are two methods that work well with this tool: either use the top red line for the main thought, listing related thoughts on each of the following lines or use a single card for each thought. You can then shuffle your cards to find new ways to organize your thoughts.
If you try to absorb and work with a large amount of information bombarding your brain, you may find that your thoughts are too muddled to begin organizing them well. To maximize your ability to organize your incoming thoughts, it’s important to have a sorting system in place to prevent an overload of information. Bundling can be a great way to visually and mentally organize your thoughts, allowing you to better understand your mind and get more done.
Try a variety of the bundling methods above to see which is best for you. Once you’ve found a method that works well for you, make sure that you stick with it and keep a routine of sorting your thoughts whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. You may find that your stress and productivity levels will begin to improve, and the weight of unorganized thoughts will fall off your shoulders, giving your mind a much-needed rest.
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