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Hey there. Jamie Cassata, direct response copywriter here.

These are confusing times.

With the plethora of information, tasks, tools, and techniques before us, we live in an age of pathological complexity. 

The brain isn’t designed to process so many things at once.

In fact, research from Stanford University, the University of London, and the University of Sussex, among others, have found that the processes of the brain involved in multitasking actually inhibit performance and even lower IQ.

Many of us are like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead, in a haze of confusion and unawareness.

Before writing … or accomplishing anything, really … it’s essential to get our mind clear and focused.

Here are 4 steps to absolute mental clarity:

1) Get away from your ordinary surroundings and into a place of solitude–in nature, if possible. You could go camping by yourself … a park for the day … even a hotel … whatever. As long as you’re getting away from the places you ordinarily inhabit. This offers a new, fresh perspective and stimulates creative thinking.

2) Get super clear on what you really want. We can’t have a goal until we’re clear on what we want in the first place. One great way to do this I learned from author Michael Losier: write down a list of 50 things you don’t want on the left side of a page … then translate them into what you do want on the right side. This “contrast” principle can offer an immense amount of clarity.

3) Write a GOSPA analysis. GOSPA stands for Goals, Objectives, Strategy, Priorities, Actions. This really focuses the mind.

  • Goals are your ultimate destination–what you want to achieve based on what you want. They should be stated in the first person, present tense–“I do X by such and such a date.”
  • Objectives are the sub-goals that have to be achieved to attain the goals
  • Strategy is the way to achieve your sub-goals and goals
  • Priorities are the most effective and efficient actions to implement your strategy
  • Actions are all those daily tasks you have to do to implement your strategy

4) Take action. Start right away on your priorities and check them off a list.

This process is an astonishingly focusing and clarifying exercise for the brain. Try it out sometime if you like. You’ll see what I mean.