How 'Compartmentalization' Can Be Used To Make Your Life Better

We are constantly confronted with stressful situations. Stressors can be upsetting, whether they are a family sickness or an unexpected job loss. That is why humans are predisposed to control their emotions by ignoring them – or in other words, compartmentalizing.

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What is compartmentalization?

Compartmentalization is a psychological protection mechanism as well as a mental tool for time and responsibility management. The term probably carries a negative connotation for the majority of people because they frequently associate it with the military, which employs it to deal with severely stressful situations, or with persons who have experienced trauma and suffer from PTSD. Compartmentalization, like everything else, has advantages and disadvantages.

However, it is a method of mentally isolating issues or activities by breaking them down into incremental portions on which you may focus intensely. Many successful entrepreneurs and executives use compartmentalization to appear to be doing multiple tasks at once.

The basic purpose of compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult period in your relationships, your business could be going bankrupt, or you just had a fight with a coworker — you can keep those things out of your mind and focus completely on the job that has to be done.

Healthy ways to compartmentalize

1. Visualization can help you practice compartmentalizing

You can start compartmentalizing by beginning to imagine your journey toward a long-term objective or vision. One technique is to imagine yourself driving down the road, taking only what will assist you reach your goals and leaving behind what will not.

Another approach is to imagine a house with multiple rooms. Your mind sees things as different rooms with closable doors, so you may enter a mental room, close the door, and focus completely on anything you choose to focus on. Your thoughts do not wander.

2. Take time to clear your head

When there is no one watching over you at home, it is up to you to take care of yourself as well as to be productive. Scheduling a half-hour walk or 15 minutes for a coffee break allows you to set aside time for yourself. Try morning meditation or schedule some reading time in the afternoon. These productive yet pleasant hobbies might help you relax and unwind.

3. Focus on one task at a time

This may seem apparent, but knowing you should focus on one thing at a time is not the same as really doing it. Multitasking is ineffective and has a negative influence on your focus and productivity. Choose one task. Set a timer, no matter how long or short, as a small commitment to yourself that you will not be distracted during this time. Concentrate solely on that task until the timer runs out.

4. Knowing when you are internally focused

While working on a task at work, anything can set off a negative reaction in you, such as a statement from a coworker or a memory of a specific incident that once undermined your confidence. Don't get lost inside yourself right now. Recognize when this happens so you can accept it at the moment and then let it go. You can literally talk to yourself, ideally in your brain if you're not alone, and say things like, "I understand this, but now I'm moving on since it doesn't benefit me."

5. Everything you do should be filed under your goals

You can do the same with your actual acts as you can with the visualization approach, which involves taking yourself on a mental journey and categorizing everything. Align every activity you intend to perform with a goal you've set for yourself, whether it's for business, personal, or relationships. You're compartmentalizing in the physical world in this way to keep focused and in control. Compartmentalizing your goals also ensures that you are focusing on what is delivering you the greatest value and moving you closer to your objectives.

6. Make plans for your day.

A daily timetable can help you organize your life and ensure that you devote enough time to vital activities. Plan your day so that you can concentrate on what needs to be done at the end of it. Having those things on your agenda ensures that you devote enough time to the most important chores that day. You can schedule time particularly for planning as part of your routine. Make use of your Friday afternoon to go through the next week and organize it if needed. This includes entering data and ranking your tasks in order of importance.


Finally, one of the most significant barriers to productivity is anxiety. This is where your calendar comes in handy once more. If you are concerned about a situation, ask yourself, "Is there anything I can do about it right now?" Take action if the answer is 'Yes.' If the answer is 'No,' schedule time on your calendar to deal with it so you can focus on the now.