Of course it’s more fun to go to Disney, have lunch with friends, work in your garden and sip a latte; but this is life – the brilliant mixed with the mundane, trips to the dentist, tax sheets to fill out, and passionate dreams along side dreaded distractions.
And if anyone reading this is like me, you’d much prefer the fun side of life over the day to day tasks that must be done. It’s all ok until things begin to pile up. Your mind gets overwhelmed and you begin to spin out of control. Instead of enjoying the beautiful sunset or a nice walk with your spouse, your thoughts are scattered. Sitting down to write your book, sketch a flower, or compose music is not an option when your brain is going a million miles a minute; “got to pick up the cake for tomorrow, get yesterdays report in a.s.a.p, and call the babysitter for Saturday and it’s already Friday!” – on and on like a crazy whirlwind we go.
Enter, “mind sweep.” A few years back a friend introduced me to a great book by David Allen called Getting Things Done, it’s in this book I was introduced to clearing your mind. In our martial art class we are taught to keep a clear and focused mind. David Allen teaches this as well, in great detail, and I highly reccommend this lifesaving book. For now though, I’d like to work on this one idea, clearing your mind.
Take a moment, grab a pen and a notebook, or if you prefer, your computer. Begin to list everything on your mind and I mean everything. Do not think in terms of what is most important rather let it flow naturally. It may look ridiculous to have, hang picture next to create world peace, but if these two things are swimming in your brain, let them out.
The list may look a bit like;
make vet apt., pick up toilet paper, do family genealogy, create new website for classes, look for Pilates class, vacation in Hawaii, return book to Karen, look for new job, fix broken leg on kitchen chair, call CPA for apt., learn Italian.
Anything and everything that is on your mind from to do’s and fixing things to future plans and major dreams. List all of it. Most likely if this is the first time you have ever done this, you will have pages and pages of rambling thoughts.
When you are clogged with “stuff” how in the world can your creativity flow? The “mind sweep” lets you release the chatter in your head along with the guilt and anxiety it brings.
For the rest of the week carry your notebook with you and keep adding to it. Walk around your home and office, look through your car and briefcase to jog ideas. As you walk through your day you may notice things to be fixed that may trigger 30 more things. Once you see everything on paper you can make a plan to do something about it or decide once and for all to release it. With a clear mind, fresh ideas can begin to flow. Enjoy the process.
Small Change #14
The Mind Sweep
“If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
― David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity