Your mind is always bouncing around thoughts and ideas in your head, but it's hard to capture and understand them if you're constantly being distracted. This exercise can help you unload everything on your mind so it's easy to assess later. Photo by Kai Chan Vong.
Some people like to meditate when they want to clear their head and focus, but if you prefer something more active, Chris Bailey at A Life of Productivity recommends a "mind capture" ritual. Grab a notepad and a pen, then separate yourself from all electronic devices, people, sounds and other distractions. Just you, your thoughts and a way to capture them. Some of the things you write will be useful and actionable ideas, other things might be worries you have, while others might just be random thoughts. Don't worry about what you're writing, just get it down on paper.
After 15 minutes, go over what you've written. Maybe an idea that's been gathering dust in your head finally seems like a reality now that you can see it. Maybe some of the things you're stressed about don't look as terrible on paper as they feel in your head. Do this ritual whenever you feel stressed, bored or any time you feel like you have a few minutes to spare. Your mind is full of good ideas worth pursuing and thoughts that need addressing, but you'll never get to them if you can't see them.
The simple (but powerful) 15-minute 'mind capture' ritual [A Life of Productivity]