Call Us: (303) 578-8455

Clear Your Head


Clear Your Head

3 rounds for time:
400m run
21 kettlebell swings
12 pull-ups

Jim and Chris wait until the very last two minutes of class to go head to head in a 500.

Clear Your Head, So You Can Do the Workout

A few weeks ago I realized that an instrumental piece of my attempt at an organized and efficient life had vanished from my life – I had stopped making lists. I come from a long line of list-makers. When I was a kid, my Mom made lists on big lined pieces of paper. I specifically remember waking up on the weekends to Mom saying, “Yoooohoooo, I have a list for you guys!” Dad’s lists were always much smaller pieces of paper and somewhat illegible.

Going to the grocery store? Here’s a list. Going on a hike? Make a list. Overwhelmed and can’t figure things out? Make a list. The tradition continued as my brother adopted the Franklin Covey organizational (list making) system in the Marine Corps and I prided myself on my At-A-Glance Planner. Somewhere in the transition to a smartphone I stopped making paper lists.

Many experts will say that you can only keep 7 things in your head at one time. You write it on a list, it gets out of your head, and you open up another space to think of something else you need to do. Clear out your list so that there’s less than 7 things as a baseline and you open the door for creative thought.  The creative thought can manifest in a number of ways – ideas, efforts (like in a workout), reflections, and new direction.

The other day I found myself in the middle of that heinous 10 minute 11.4 workout.  During the overhead squats, while fighting like hell not to put the bar down, my brain thought, “did I remember to move the laundry to the dryer before I left the house?  If not, it’s totally going to start smelling and I’ll have to wash it again.”


I was angry and upset after the workout.  My personal life has NO place in my workout.  That is my time.  And that’s when it dawned on me, I needed to get back to my lists because my workouts can be my time only if I give myself the space to make it happen.

Whether it be your workout or another hobby do yourself a favor and do everything you can to BE there for the workout.

Do you make lists?  How do you help immerse yourself an your hour of CrossFit? Post to comments.

12 Responses

  1. grandpamojo


    Endurance class – are we doing Helen too? – I’d really like to try this workout – never done it.

  2. I’m not a big list maker, but I do my best to leave everything behind when I hit the gym.

    Sometimes it’s tough because I often come on my lunch break, while I’m knee deep in projects. But by the time the warmup is over, I’m almost always focused on the WOD at hand.

    Getting my workout done early in the day sets me up for a high energy afternoon with tenacious focus (except on the days when we have those knock down, drag-out WODs like Fran that destroy me for the rest of the day, but that’s another story…)

  3. I’m a list girl – to-do list at work each day, list for the grocery store, packing list for my work trips. It helps me to feel organized and less stressed.

    I generally find that it’s all I can do to just get through a Roots workout – there’s no room in my brain for anything other than getting through that next 100m on the erg, or getting another 3 pullups, or trying yet again to land a double-under. Maybe the learning/training curve is working to my advantage!

  4. Nicely put! I use a list with reminders tagged to each item so that I can mark it down and forget about it, well at least until the alarm goes off. I use to be anti smart phone but now I am all for it so that I use the technology to help organize.
    Also most of my sports require me to focus, for example whitewater kayaking! Your not thinking about your laundry when in a Class 5 rapid trying to save your life and make the moves needed to navigate. Stressful to some but a mind release for others (me)!

  5. Cara Hinshaw

    This is too funny! It may come as no surprise, but I am a huge list maker. I am pretty sure I couldn’t function without lists. I have a to-do list at work and a main personal to-do list (for errands, chores, emails/calls to return, etc.). My main list has multiple sub-lists (e.g. main list: work on wedding planning; sub-list: hire transportation, order rings, buy shoes, etc.). I know this probably sounds crazy or beyond type A but it keeps me organized and significantly reduces my stress. If I didn’t write these things down, I am certain that I would forget half of them and/or I would keep going over the lists in my head several times a day and make myself even crazier. And yes, I do get a lot of grief for my system, but I don’t really care because my system works for me… 🙂

    Just for the record, I have a smartphone AND still have my handwritten week-at-a-glance organizer (incidentally, where I write my lists for the day and keep my main list, usually on post-its). I know that I am definitely not utilizing all of the benefits of a smartphone, but something about crossing things off a handwritten list with PEN gives me satisfaction.

    As far as immersing myself in CF for an hour, I usually go to the early a.m. classes right when I wake up. That way, I get the workout in before I have a chance to start thinking about any of the other things I have going on that day…

    1. Anonymous

      Sometimes I write things on my paper lists that I’ve already completed that day just so I can cross them off and make my list look bigger:)

      1. Jim Rowe

        I’m am glad to hear that. I do that too once in a while for that artificial good feeling of productivity.

        Not trying to trying to promote more morning xfitters in the rapidly filling morning slots, but I’m with Cara in that my 15-minute awake brain is doing all it can to just follow instructions at 6:00 a.m., and hasn’t ramped up for the day yet…