How To Double Your Brain Power

by Dan Johnston

How To Double Your Brain Power

“By getting rid of all the mental baggage you have, you will get to focus only on new things and moving forward one thing at a time.”

Do you ever feel like you’re drained mentally?

Like you just don’t have the energy to think things through or to get your big projects done?

Like there’s not enough gas in the tank?

In this post I’m going to share one solution that can free up a ton of mental energy, and set you free to work on those big exciting projects that I know you’d much rather be doing than worrying about all these little things.

Yes, I know, I sound like an infomercial…and in just a minute, you can call for just $9.95 a month, and free up all the mental space in the world for you and your big dreams.

But seriously, this is a game-changer for me.

It’s something that has been really effective and I’m really grateful for this.

It’s the idea of clearing your plate.

Getting rid of all that mental baggage you have going on so you can only focus or you only have to focus on new things and moving forward one thing at a time.

A lot of us – especially us ENFPs – we have a lot of to-do’s we don’t like doing.

Maybe some admin work, maybe an old bill we had to pay or form we had to file or maybe some kind of insurance paperwork where we know we should get $100 back from this insurance company, but we have to do the paperwork and that doesn’t sound very fun.

And here’s why these things are really big problem:

We don’t stop thinking about them. They’re always in the back of our mind and this drains an incredible amount of energy.

I’m creating this post now from Canada and for a month before leaving Prague, I had this big list of things I wanted to get done.

And I got them all done, which was awesome!

What was surprising about it, though, is some of the items on this list had been there for somewhere between 3 months and 12 months and it was in just one day that I’d set aside to get all the things done before the trip that I just powered through them.

Some of these things I thought of:

There was a specific doctor’s appointment I wanted to make. I probably thought of that 30 or 40 times, at least that’s what I can consciously recall.

So probably 100 times and just hadn’t got around to it and then when it was on this important list of just-get-it-done – just got it done.

Perhaps it’s a little embarrassing to share that.

But not too embarrassing, because I can guarantee you do the same thing with certain items on your to-do list where you’ve thought about them maybe 100 times – more than the time it would take to just do the thing.

The Working Memory Exhaustion

The problem with all these lingering activities is they eat up our working memory.

Every time something pops in your head, like:

Oh, I was supposed to call that doctor! or

I do need to file that form.

Every time that pops up in your head and you don’t do it, it’s draining your mental energy and it’s distracting you.

Action Time: Clear Your Mental Plate

One activity I did was the one that I want to bring you through right now, which is to completely clear your mind.

If you’re up for it, I would suggest doing it right now with me.

It’s going to be a little intense perhaps, but it’s going to be worth it in the long run.

Open a notepad.

Pen and paper.

Do not do it digitally.

Clear that list – everything in your head should be transferred to the paper.

That appointment you were supposed to make – write it down.

That paperwork you were supposed to file – write it down.

That person you are supposed to call because you said something mean a little while ago and you keep thinking about it but you haven’t done anything – write it down.

Every recurring thought you have in terms of to-do – someone you should contact, paperwork, you should file something, you should clean something, you should find something – write that all down.

Now, this list might be a little intimidating as you do it, but I would encourage you to just keep writing it down. Get as much out of your head as possible.

This might take you an hour to go through.

Do this and then return to this post.

Freeing Up Your Working Memory

At the end of it, a few magical things are going to happen.

The first is you’re already going to feel a bit more clear-headed.

You might feel overwhelmed looking at the list – that is totally normal.

But you’re already going to feel a bit more clear-headed because you’ve taken these things out of your head and when something is written down, you at the very least free up some of your working memory because it’s on paper and your brain does this computation with things:

All right, I don’t really need to keep reminding myself of this as much because it’s been written down.

The next thing you want to do is set aside a certain amount of time – this might be a day, it might be a few days – I would suggest one day so you have some pressure to just get through things.

If you give yourself too much time, you will avoid the uncomfortable things you need to do.

Give yourself a day with a goal of completing that entire list.

Emails you need to send – send them.

Paperwork you need to do – do it.

There may be things on the list that, when you look at it, you actually decided:

Hey, I don’t want to do that.

And that’s okay too.

But you have to make a firm decision that you’re not going to think about it again.

So there’s an item on your list like:

File some insurance paperwork and get $20

And you just decide it’s not worth that $20 to do the paperwork.

Cross it out as if it’s done and never think about it again.

The point of this activity is that at the end of going through it, you have nothing else left on your to-do list and you can actually just sit back and say:

Hey, I have nothing I need to do, I can start afresh.

One of the big benefits of this is that when you are done, you have a clear mental plate.

You can start fresh and that is a big deal because I would estimate that somewhere between 10% and 70% of people’s mental energy and working memory is occupied by these lingering to-do items that are just constantly draining the battery.

It’s like walking around with your phone with the hotspot enabled, Bluetooth or the Wi-Fi or the screen on maximum brightness, and then wondering:

Why did my battery die after only three hours?

Well, maybe because you’re eating up all the energy with these unnecessary things.

Clear-Headed = Getting A LOT More Done

What’s really nice is when you actually get your plate cleared, then you can just repeat this activity, say, every month or every two months, and just keep it clear and you have so much more mental energy to do.

I’m so grateful for this because when I do sit down and I want to create a new training program, or write a book, or do something bigger, I can actually give myself a month of time to just focus on that without having all these things churning in the back of my mind that I should be doing this and that.

I’ll tell you this, if you go through this activity, and you clear your mental plate, and you combine it with some of the things I’ve talked about in some of my other videos, such as planning your days in advance and being really proactive in terms of what you work on….

And heck – this would be just crazy and I’m not going to push you this extreme, but even make some changes in terms of diet and exercise, you’re going to be absolutely unstoppable.

I’m not talking about getting 20% more done.

I’m talking about three, four or 500% more you’ll be able to get done.

It is incredible how much mental energy and working memory is wasted by these sorts of lingering to-do items and recurring thoughts.

Try me out on this.

Try this activity and I’m telling you things will never be the same.

In the comments below, do let me know if you’re going to commit to going through this activity and, when you do, let me know how you feel after and what the shift is.

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