Thursday, November 8, 2018

How to Regather Your Scattered Mind and Get Some Useful Stuff Done

(I'm here to help)


This morning I woke up with basically nothing connecting one idea to another as I was trying to plan my day. I could think of dozens of possible things to do, but it was hard to narrow them down to a reasonable list of the most important things that I could fit in before hitting the reset button at bedtime. This meant I not only had to make a plan, but I had to start with making a preliminary plan for how to make the actual plan. Since I also didn't have an idea for today's blog post, I thought I'd share the way I sorted out my thoughts.

First of all, what I should have done was to make my plan LAST NIGHT. It's much easier to get going if you wake up with the list already made. New possibilities can come up in the morning, but then you can decide whether they're more important than the ones on your list and make adjustments. If nothing new comes up, you're all set. However, even if you didn't do this in the past, you can still figure it out now.

I decided to just write a list of all of the ideas I could come up with, because once the ideas are out where I can look at them, I don't have to spend any more mental energy on making sure that I remember everything. I have to remember ONE thing: the location of the list. 

After writing down all of the ideas, it's time to evaluate what's most important, and what's possible. If the list only has a few items that can easily fit into the amount of time you have, you're fine and you can do them in whatever order works best for you. That hardly even counts as being scattered. 

The trouble comes in when you have more ideas than time. At that point, it's best to see if there are reasons why any of the options have to be done today, or ideally should be done today. Those become the top priorities, and if that's all you have time for, you can get started with the one that's most important. If you don't know what that is, your first task is to figure it out. If you have more "must do today" items than time, you may have to ask for help or end up suffering some consequences, but that will point you toward learning more about time management in the future, I hope? 

If there are routine chores to get done, I say make a game of it. Put on music you like, set a timer for twenty minutes, and do as much as you can in one area in that time. No perfection required. Repeat as needed.

A problem I have is indecision about things I don't have to do at all. I just want to do more things than I have time to do. If there's no external reason why one is more important than another, I can end up ruining my own fun by wasting time on not being able to choose. It can be helpful to decide that this week (or other arbitrary amount of time) in my free time I'll focus on one area. Like only reading fiction, only drawing pictures, only making crafts, or whatever. Or I can pick a few projects I really want to get done by a certain date, and be somewhat spontaneous about when to fit in time for them. The point is to decide I will NOT be doing anything about all those other projects until after this amount of time passes, or after these particular projects are finished. 

Another mind-clearing thing is to set a timer for maybe thirty minutes and do some free-writing. You can start with a phrase like "I don't know what to do today because" or "I feel stuck because," and go from there. Maybe you're feeling conflicted between what you want to do and what you think you should do, or something else is bothering you. I always find it helpful to start writing things down without trying to make my sentences perfect or edit anything. No one else has to see what you write; you can burn it afterward if you want. It can be a relief to just get your thoughts out.

I think that's all the advice I have for myself and for you today! I'm going to go and apply it to myself. Be good!

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