Free Your Mind

Seize the Day with Open Loop Closure: Unclutter Your Mind

Seize the Day with Open Loop Closure: Unclutter Your Mind

Free your Mind

Have you ever found yourself avoiding tasks, whether big life goals or small daily habits, that you genuinely want to accomplish? The truth is, we’ve all been there. The question is, why do we procrastinate doing the things we genuinely desire?

In my life, one of the most significant goals has been consistently writing this blog. However, I hit a rough patch, especially during the pandemic, and struggled to regain my writing rhythm. The thoughts that plagued me were along the lines of:

– “If this blog is as crucial as I claim it to be, why can’t I muster the motivation to write?”
– “I know I can do it, but scrolling through TikTok for hours feels way easier than writing.”
– “Maybe I just need to find the motivation or discipline myself.”

But here’s the reality check: Taking action is not as simple as it sounds. Sure, you can break tasks into smaller steps, give yourself ultimatums, and take a variety of motivational approaches. However, what happens when decision fatigue, mental strain, perfectionism, and shame sneakily drain your energy without you realizing it?

The culprit is often the overwhelming mental load we carry. We spend more time contemplating tasks rather than tackling them, which hampers our productivity and stifles our desires. It’s time to examine the concept of “open loops.”

Understanding Open Loops: The Energy Drainers

The term ‘open loop’ entered my vocabulary courtesy of David Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done.” In simple terms, open loops are unfulfilled commitments. These are the tasks that you know you should complete, but instead of either finishing them or getting them out of your head, you let them linger in your mind.

Psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik even coined the Zeigarnik effect, showing that we remember uncompleted tasks more vividly than completed ones. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks, as I recognized how many open loops were cluttering my life. Half-finished blog posts, project ideas, and scattered notes were lurking everywhere, even if I had no intention of addressing them.

Here’s the kicker: Open loops can fuel feelings of shame and frustration. Unfinished tasks tend to haunt us, generating self-blame and regret. That pile of laundry left unattended might seem trivial, but it’s a classic example. We tell ourselves we’ll deal with it later, and when we eventually face it, self-blame creeps in.

Open loops make it more challenging to take action, creating a greater temptation to lose ourselves in activities that don’t align with our goals, such as endless TikTok scrolling.

One philosopher once stated that if you don’t share your creative ideas, the energy within you stagnates. For me, releasing thoughts, even if they’re intimidating, lightens the load and provides clarity.

So, how can you close these open loops and regain control over your energy and motivation? It’s simpler than you might think.

Closing Open Loops and Moving Forward

Step 1: Take Inventory
Begin by creating a list of open loops in your life. What tasks or ideas remain unfinished and are weighing on your mind?

Step 2: Close the Loop
Now, let’s tackle those open loops:
– If it’s a task you can complete in two minutes, do it now.
– For tasks requiring more time, schedule a dedicated slot in your calendar.
– If you’ve lost interest in something, let it go – it’s the most straightforward open loop to close.
– Uncertain about a task? Make a conscious decision rather than letting it linger.
– If you’re awaiting someone else’s response, follow up or practice patience.
– Don’t hesitate to seek help if a task feels overwhelming; people are often eager to assist when asked.

Step 3: Acknowledge and Close Open Loops
As you identify open loops, acknowledge them and decide to close them right away. The act of recognizing an open loop in your mind and choosing to address it or add it to your list will create more mental space.

While the concept of open loops is frequently associated with productivity, it also teaches mindfulness. Clearing your mental clutter provides room to concentrate on what genuinely matters. What open loops can you close to reclaim your motivation and energy? It’s time to find out!

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