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The Organised Mind: Downsizing

by in Lifestyle on 6th March, 2018

o mind

So drawing on from this series last week, I spoke a little about the science behind an organised mind. The next section is really all about making your life easier, minimising, and compartmentalizing. Here are a few more tips that will help to achieve a clear headspace to leave room for ideas, creativity, and focus!

Minimalise – Everything

Get a bin bag, and do this when you are in a brutal mood. I mean brutal. I had come back from my trip to America, with a suitcase full of clothes to wash, and a room filled with clothes, bursting out of my wardrobe, I mean everywhere, it was actually both stressful and therapeutic to sort out. I was in a brutal mood, which meant I was more cut-throat about my hoarding habits, more than usual. I was ready to either recycle my things, give them away to a shelter, my siblings, and sell the rest. I wanted to create a capsule wardrobe, a group of my favourite clothes, that could be worn in rotation,  by mixing, and matching outfits. I didn’t want 10 coats, I felt wasteful, and my mind felt tangled. I wanted to give it all away. My thoughts became even more brutal, If something happened to my house, and I had time to take just three items to survive I would lose all of this anyway, it got deeper – in the grave, I won’t be taking any of this. It was an eye opener, I was hoarding what I can only call valuable junk, junk because the things I was hoarding weren’t necessary and may not have served any other purpose than vanity.

CLEAR it all. Be brave and brutal. Let this transfer to other areas of your life, books, leave them outside of your house, in a neat pile labeled,  “read me” a great way to circulate literature and propagate the spreading of knowledge and creativity.

Monitor how much you take with you when you go out. How is it that a lot of men don’t need to carry a bag, often they ensure they have the valuables: wallet, keys, and phone. My theory is this, the bigger the bag, the more you’re going to want to test how much you can fill it with. Money, Oyster, phone, keys, mini Quran, items that have a purpose, anything else is just weighing you down. If we practice the prophet Muhammad’s (saw) Sunnah, the number of possessions he owned was so little, that he was able to name each one. He re-mended his shoes, and clothes, to ensure he didn’t continue consuming.

Document It All

So you have your tidy space now, great, you need to start planning from the macro to the micro. You have your handmade planner, year to year, month to month. Oversee that month. Have a small handy year diary, one you like the look of, you will slip this into your bag wherever you go.

This will be your best friend, it will be taken out and used like a map to help you navigate through your day and week, whenever, and I mean, WHENEVER there is a slight change or update in your week, pen it in, the date and time and maybe little notes explaining it.

If you are anything like me, I participate in a few projects, so having to keep up to date with them all, whilst ensuring I am doing well and remaining on top of my main work can be challenging. Writing everything down ideally in a bullet journal has been an effective tool for many, but in all honesty, the concept behind those can be overwhelming as there is a science to it. If it starts to feel overwhelming this is counterproductive you need a pen, paper, and the date written or printed in your notebook. That is all you need. Sorted. Just to reiterate writing things down can help you in many ways in the future, if you need to reference a time or place, seeing a date or something penned in your diary can trigger a memory.


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Plan Plan Plan

There are so many creative and innovative life planners you can find in Paperchase (my fav store) however, the prices are a little high, depending on if you feel it is important enough to invest in, however, your purse and savings will thank you later. Personally, there is something lovely about creating and moulding your own life plan, with colour pencils and calligraphy pens, include every single area. Your brain is exposed to too many thoughts, images, conversations, videos, credit card bills, letters, and general information at an incredibly high speed, daily, particularly if you are living in a big city. Having sections in your life planner will help you to compartmentalize the stress and hopefully reduce it. Try including:

  • A Brain Dump section a place to just put all your word vomit swimming around your head, it can be anything and everything just put your words to paper.
  • An Expenses section to ensure you know exactly how much you are spending. This will help you to monitor your salary or any income you are receiving vs how much you are spending, this a great way to track where you could cut down on eating out as much, having too many coffees in a day, and buying clothes in bulk that you don’t need.
  • A Play section, to document and track how much time you are spending on doing things you actually enjoy. This can be from planning a surprise party, trips to a rooftop garden somewhere, basketball practice, to ziplining, this will give you something to look forward to and will also associate your life planner with a positive association.
  • A Just Checking checker, this is the place you document how many times a day you check your phone. A great way to encourage mindfulness is by slowing down your thoughts, a way of doing this is controlling the number of times you check your phone throughout the day as studies suggest the more we check our phones the harder it is to concentrate. Heavy phone users have been linked to experiencing cognitive failures.
  • A Mood Board to document what you are feeling daily, this will help particular people who may suffer from anxiety as a result of their hectic lifestyle (which is most people in a busy city). Or those who are forced to be high functioning whilst maintaining good mental health.
  • A Food  & Drink Rota to understand yourself a little more. A huge part of knowing yourself, and understanding your mood spectrum is documenting what you are putting into your body, without even realising it. If you, like me suffer from sweet tooth syndrome it would be worthwhile to document the number of sugars you are putting in your tea, and how much food you are consuming that have natural and added sugars, daily. the results may shock you.
  • Dreams & Mares, this will be your sleep diary, one of the perfect combinations of a fully functioning, healthy human is a good diet and resting well. Rest is an ambiguous term I can appreciate that. However, documenting sleep cycles, and their times can help you to regulate your hours. This is where your daily routine begins,  writing down your dreams and nightmares is actually incredibly important as it is going to impact the rest of your day. Islamically it is discouraged to speak about your bad dreams out loud, however writing them down for the purpose of processing them, and understanding yourself is a great way to unload. Dreams tell us a lot about what is really bubbling beneath the surface somewhere in our subconscious. If something is troubling you this can manifest in a multitude of ways, sleep talking and walking is one of them.
  • A Creative section, this is for all your ideas, dreams, drawings, poetry, scribbles, everything and anything this is the area of no judgment, no boxes, no expectations just the free-flowing freedom to be yourself and get your creative juices pumping.

Time to put it all into practice… until next week!



Hanan has a Masters in Media in the Middle East from SOAS University. Trainee of the Muslim Women in Media institute Annual Cohort at UC Davis, California. Her interests lie in ethical fashion, modern-day slavery, and when not making Youtube videos she is somewhere in between Ballet and Kickboxing. King Julian is her spirit animal.