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83. How to Organize Your Brain with Behavioral Economics

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Clutter has a negative impact on your brain. It can lead to disorganization, overwhelm, increased stress, and even health issues. That’s why organizing your brain and your surroundings is so important. This episode is about the benefits of organization in your life and how it can lead to positive outcomes such as weight loss, decreased stress, increased productivity, and clearing the way to smash through your goals. The benefits of an organized brain are really amazing, and I want to help you get there.  This episode walks through a bunch of tips and some of my favorite tools I use to keep organized. This includes a couple of great books that can help eliminate clutter from your physical and digital life, as well as the tools and systems I use to manage all existing commitments while building and scaling The Brainy Business. Tools discussed include: Focus mode on Word, Time Timer, Gmail’s Snooze feature, GANTT charts and how I use Trello to get it all done in an organized and sane way.  Before diving in, I want to tell you about a really cool article that was posted recently on Bloomberg. It’s called Top Jobs for the Next Decade Are Behavioral Scientist, Data Analyst. This is great news for the field, and I am totally not surprised as so many people have been reaching out with questions about getting degrees in behavioral economics or how they can pursue work in the field. More people are also finding the podcast and asking about working together. Look for an upcoming episode with my recommendations and resources for exploring this fascinating and growing field. If you have specific questions you would like included, hit me up on social media.

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Show Notes:

  • [01:49] If you want to be featured on the show – leave a review of the podcast in the app you listen to, and I may talk about you and your business in an upcoming episode.
  • [02:25] This episode is going to cover a lot of resources and things you can consider as you work to organize your brain. If you are already on The Brainy Business list, you get direct links to everything related to each episode…as well as access to the super secret subscriber page with all the freebies.
  • [03:44] Bloomberg recently came out with an article called Top Jobs for the Next Decade Are Behavioral Scientist, Data Analyst. So awesome!
  • [04:05] So many people have been reaching out and asking questions about getting degrees in behavioral economics or how to pursue work in behavioral science.
  • [05:14] When your brain is overwhelmed…which happens a lot quicker than you would think…worse decisions are made. An example would be the chocolate cake study.
  • [06:15] Essentially, when the brain gets overwhelmed – even by a few extra digits – it makes worse decisions.
  • [07:20] Your conscious brain’s 40 bits are bogged down with that big number. More things that would normally be handled by the conscious brain are now in the realm of the reward seeking subconscious brain.
  • [07:44] Clutter also increases stress, makes it harder to focus, increases the likelihood you will procrastinate, costs time and money, and can keep you stuck in the past.
  • [09:19] We are loss averse as a species, we don’t like to get rid of things. We want them “just in case” and the brain will make reasons for why it needs that extra stuff around.
  • [09:48] If the “things” (physical, mental, emotional, digital) surrounding you aren’t well organized and are getting out of hand it is keeping you from reaching your goals. This is why the first step in the Brainy Mindset Course is to work on clutter.
  • [10:10] Even if you aren’t consciously paying attention to the clutter, your brain knows it is there and it creates distraction.
  • [11:02] The reverse is that the brain loves organization. Think about when you go on vacation or are looking at awesomely organized spaces.
  • [13:10] Americans waste 9 million hours per day collectively looking for misplaced stuff – 30 minutes per person per day on miscellaneous stuff from keys to remotes to shoes and socks.
  • [13:34] Clutter leads to procrastination, weight gain, stress…all kinds of things keeping you from your goals.
  • [14:31] THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP by Marie Kondo. When people clear up the clutter in one area of their life they make huge shifts in other areas of their life.
  • [16:08] You go throughout your house and make a huge single pile of everything in the category. You start with clothes – everything you own in one giant pile. Does it spark joy?
  • [19:45] INDISTRACTABLE by Nir Eyal has great tips for eliminating digital clutter.
  • [20:43] NO MORE NOTIFICATIONS – Changing the notifications on your phone is easy and SO freeing. It only takes a few seconds and can help you take control of your life, living in an organized style on your own terms.
  • [22:32] You can also turn off email notifications. 
  • [25:13] The next tool I’ve learned to love is “FOCUS MODE” from Word. If you need to write a lot of content…like me…you spend a lot of time in word and it is easy to get distracted. Focus blacks out everything except the document you are working on.
  • [26:27] Your brain is constantly pulling focus and looking at other stuff. If you remove it from your sight, you really just…stop thinking about it.
  • [28:26] Another thing I use to keep focused and productive is the TIME TIMER. 
  • [29:33] Let’s say I want to commit to writing, instead of saying “I am going to sit and write…no distractions this time!” I say, I am going to write for 20 minutes. And set the timer…that feels easier to focus.
  • [32:35] The SNOOZE function for Gmail. I don’t know if other email clients have this…but if they do you should absolutely use it if you can. The Snooze function allows me to determine when I want to tackle an item, and move it so it is out of my inbox and will only come back in at the set time.
  • [35:20] If you’ve snoozed something more than twice, ask yourself, “Why am I not doing this? Does it really matter?”
  • [36:06] A GANTT CHART is essentially a visual tracking system that lets you sort through your tasks and see what is upcoming. A GANTT chart is helpful because it allows you to see what is coming up and where you might have overlap.
  • [38:10] Narrowing your goals, removing the clutter around them and then aligning your to dos with something like a GANTT chart can really help you. Splitting the big goal into its smallest components is one of the most critical steps
  • [39:10] The BE Thoughtful notebooks will really help with this when they come out soon! FILL THIS OUT to get notified first.
  • [39:20] Trello is awesome and it has totally changed the way I approach my days, my life, my clutter and my business. Take heed: there is a LOT of effort up front effort required to set it up properly so it does everything you want it to. It’s very customizable, which is great, but it could quickly become a time suck if you aren’t ready for it. 
  • [40:44] Remembering all the junk you have to do for routine tasks is keeping you stuck. Trello can help turn that into a process that reminds you of the next step so you don’t have to.
  • [45:45] For those of you already signed up for the Brainy Mindset Course – I’ll be walking you through my boards and can create templates and things for you that are shared. It’s so valuable.
Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

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2 thoughts on “83. How to Organize Your Brain with Behavioral Economics”

  • Melina, Thank you so much for another great episode. There are so many useful tips, tricks and overall interesting ways to make life better. I really appreciate all you do for your community. Here’s to a great 2020.

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