Need a Treatment for Mental Sludge?

There is a whole section of shelving in auto parts stores that show gas treatment products to help to clean your engine if your car is acting kind of sluggish.  I’m a little skeptical myself on the validity of these products, because as a woman I think skepticism about car operations is just healthy.  Although I have at rare moments found myself more knowledgeable than some males on the inner workings of some automotive systems.


sludgeAnyway, sludge is the accumulation of the muck (technical term) that seems to be a requisite accompaniment to the product you need – like gas- to operate a machine like your car.  For whatever reason it is not possible to provide you gas for your car that has been completely filtered of impurities (muck) either during processing or transport or storage.  But enough about cars and gas, let’s move to your brain.


Sometimes your thoughts can be humming along and you can really tear through your to-do list.  Your brain gives you the information that you need just as you need it, excellent.  But then there are the times when your brain answers almost every need and request with, ‘huh?’.  When the memory or information that you need seems to be buried under sludge.


Our brains start to learn early on to filter or outright ignore information as it comes in.  But sometimes we need to evaluate the way that we are processing this information – info that we don’t really need gets gathered (sludge) while sometimes useful bits get filtered out.  We need to flush out the sludge and retrain our brains on what to keep, especially during or after changes in our lives like a promotion, new job, move, etc.


For instance, let’s say that for a previous job you memorized a whole series of numbers that you used on a regular basis because it was more helpful than looking them up several times a day.  But you haven’t needed to use them in quite a long while.  These numbers have become sludge.  Unfortunately we can’t delete them and then perform a disk defragmentation on our brains, but with some work you can erase your mental path to these numbers.


Give yourself something else to do for a few minutes and then ask yourself what you remember about this post.  It will help you understand better how your brain currently filters and saves info.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

3 responses to “Need a Treatment for Mental Sludge?

  1. It’s an interesting analogy. I think we are very inured to driving our brains as if they were, in fact, machines that never need rest, tune-ups or examination.

    • Thanks, my visual for my brain when I was younger was of a vast room with a little fellow on a wheeled chair (interesting that it was a fellow… he was bald…) surrounded by endless wooden file cabinets. He raced to file new things and to find the needed files. But I no longer have a specific visual, which perhaps is why I often feel scattered keeping track of all the splintered thoughts and activities… I do collect quotations about writers speaking on writing, which are really about methods of thought. It is one of the reasons why I am drawn to writing, because it requires awareness on a different level.

      • What an interesting visual! Thinking fascinates me — because thinking ABOUT thinking is so meta, and so important. We all fall into patterns and seeing them (and changing them, if desired) can be so damn difficult, even when necessary.

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