Right now, as you are reading this, there are voices in your head. Don’t try to deny it! I know they are there. The voices may be causing you stress or giving you sound advice. They might be thrilled or agitated, soft-spoken or noisy. I call these voices brain chatter. According to the Urban Dictionary, brain chatter is the high intensity inner monologue (in some cases dialogue) that distracts or interrupts activities in the external world.
Where does brain chatter originate from? Guidance from others and personal experiences. The chatter can sound very logical and wise. However, just like advice or experiences what sounds sensible may or may not be realistic or true. Let’s talk about how brain chatterimpacts your day.
Situation 1: Someone approaches you to volunteer for an activity. It isn’t something you really want to do nor do you have the time.
Your mind immediately starts a dialogue: “I really don’t want to do that. I don’t feel like I have the skill set to do a good job.” Meanwhile the second voice starts in, “But I don’t want to turn her down. The last thing I need is to be on her bad side.”
- Say “yes” and then continue to listen to your inner dialogue voice its frustration that you “can’t believe you got yourself into this situation again” and “next time you’ll have to grow a spine and say ‘no’.”
- Say “I have to consult my calendar to see if this can fit in with my other obligations.” Then your voices may continue fighting among themselves until one asserts itself as the winner.
- Be bold and say “no” right away. There may some loud brain chatter for awhile, but it will calm down.
Situation 2: There is a task you have been putting off for awhile. Every time you think about you “find something else more important.”
Now you are right up against the deadline. Your inner voice says, “I can’t believe you did this again. You always put this off and then get upset when you have to do it last minute.”
1. Continue to waste time by beating yourself up over what you should or could have done.
2. Command the voices to STOP and just get down to the task.
3. Say “This time I made a poor choice by delaying the task, next time I will start working on it sooner.”
This brain chatter often leads to inaction around task completion and misuse of time. To make matters worse, these differing voices increase as you get more overwhelmed by incomplete tasks. Just because your brain chatter is active doesn’t mean it can’t be changed! You will need to
• Develop boundaries around how you choose to use your time.
• Diagnose the source of voices in order to combat them.
• Discover the most effective ways to resist brain chatter.
I won’t lie to you; decreasing brain chatter is a process that doesn’t happen overnight. But if you want your time to be more organized it is a crucial process. What is your first step in controlling your brain chatter?
Need additional assistance identifying and combating your brain chatter? Check out our organizing coaching services on Ordered Minds.