Taming the Monkey Mind

I was reading Tim Ferriss’s “Morning Journal Routine” in Tools of Titans, and he mentioned he was taming his monkey mind. His mind tends to be so full of random things that is just goes monkey nuts sometimes and is everywhere and nowhere at once. Tim’s journaling helps get his mind on track to focus by just getting rid of the clutter bouncing around in his head. I thought I don’t journal, but I do get overwhelmed with the millions of things I have to do at work, or with my family, or just ideas I have that are flying out of my head at all times. I have the monkey mind and years ago without realizing it at the time I began to develop my own method of taming my monkey mind.

The first thing I do is recognizing that my mind is racing. I realize this because I can sometimes feel the knots in my back growing from the stress of all the things to do, and I don’t even know where to begin. I get overwhelmed and feel the stress. I usually take some deep breaths and get a plan together.

I will usually get out a post it note and begin making a list or get out an envelope if the list is long and write down all the things in my mind I have to do. I have a separate column for my ideas that just pop in my head. If I don’t have paper then I use my Evernote app on my phone and begin talking if I’m driving or quietly typing them in if I’m in public. This website was conceived during one of those moments in a Sunday school class at church. The lesson was obsolete to me because the monkey mind was taking over, so I started to list all the blog topics about money and stress I could into my Evernote. My wife sat next to me watching in amazement as I churned out 104 blog topics never repeating any of them in about 30 minutes. I still have them in there from 6 months ago, and I am just checking them off my list of future ideas I have for this website. (Lots of material is ready to go because of my monkey mind, so I guess its not all bad.)

Once, I have my list of things to do or list of ideas, I rewrite it in the order I want to accomplish them in. Most of the time I get things done according to how much time they take up. I like getting the harder and longer ones done early in the day and finish the day when I’m tired with the quick easy items. Also, my brain works best in the morning since I’m a natural introvert and people tire me out throughout my day making my energy level drop.

The last step is to just cross out the items as I go and throw the paper away when it’s done. There is something amazing about finishing a list of ten items and then crumbling it up and throwing it away. You feel like you accomplished something with a little attitude and you showed the monkey mind a thing or two about going wild. Deleting an entire task in Evernote feels great too when it asks again if I want to delete it. Hell Yes!!

Taming the monkey mind is great for productivity and I know lots of people who do it different ways. If you know of different ways share them, and check out other great ideas in Tools for Titans by Tim Ferriss.  This book is literally a playbook for success.

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