Overwhelmed? Take an Audit of Your Brain’s Real Estate

A 10-minute exercise that can help you get a handle on everything that’s happening in your life

Rosie Spinks
Forge
Published in
5 min readJul 19, 2021

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Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

There’s a drawing by New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck that I think about often. A cross-section of a woman’s brain reveals partitions containing everything from thoughts about the climate disaster and work deadlines to what to have for lunch and the prospect of kangaroos going extinct.

It’s funny because it’s true: Our brains comprise so much, from the utterly inconsequential to the terrifyingly existential, all day every day.

But when life feels overwhelming — and truly, when does it not?—I’ve noticed that my brain’s system for allocating real estate can go a little haywire. I will start to make space for way too many things, like shoving in more mediocre condos into an already too-dense neighborhood. When you’re overwhelmed, your brain can tell you the story that the way to get out of it is by doing more. When I sense myself doing this, I know it’s time for an audit.

The audit works like this: In life there are generally three categories. There are things you simply have to do, such as work, take care of your children, file your taxes, go to your annual physical etc. Then there are things you would like to do, like…

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Rosie Spinks
Forge

Writing about how to create a meaningful life in a chaotic world. Formerly a lifestyle and business reporter. Find me: rojospinks.com @rojospinks.