I sit down at my desk to write, but nothing comes to me. I think of a video I recently watched about a Buzzfeed author who had a deadline, but couldn’t think of anything to write. She ended up writing about Malta and became an interenet sensation over there. Well, that’s great and good, but it’s been done. What could I possible write that will, in some small way, impact those who read it?
I put on some music, stare out my window at my garden, pick up my recorder in an attempt to make a happy sound, then stare out my window some more.
I remember reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lammot. She said her father, also a writer, told her that writers write every single day. There are no exceptions. I want to do that, but I haven’t been. I told Lennox that I wanted to post a blog 3 times a week, but that I wanted to write every day.
Where do I fit that in? Where do I prioritize my time? There are so many things calling for my attention that I often just feel overwhelmed and then do something useless. Then later I feel guilty about it. What a ridiculous cycle!
So, I came up with a few things that help get me back on track.
- Make a brain dump. I have categories for household, personal, and work. I list everything that comes to my brain that I need or want to get done. Then I will highlight the things that absolutely must get done today. Once that has been established it’s easier to plan out the other things. I like to write it out by hand, it’s more therapeutic for me. However, doing it on the computer makes it easier to edit and organize later on.
- Light and Fragrance – I’ll like to open up all the curtains to let the natural light come in. The light makes things look more alive. It also makes it look more dusty, but we don’t focus on that. I’ll open a couple of windows for fresh air even when it’s cold. I don’t do that for long, but I do like a good air cleansing.
I have a few essential oil diffusers that I use, as well. I first fill the one by my front door. What is it that I want my family and guests to smell when they first walk in? Now that it’s fall I’ll likely put a mix of orange, clove, and cinnamon. That sounds warm and inviting. In the bathroom it’s likely going to be lemon and an oil called ‘purification’. I change it up in the bedroom often, but I like to use lavender and cypress at bedtime. Yesterday I diffused peppermint and lemon in the office for a nice little pick me up.
- Music! What kind of music really gets you dancing? I find some upbeat music like “Eye of the Tiger” or “Better When I’m Dancing”. Whatever it is that gets you in a good mood and ready to work, go for it! Although, if I’m going to write or do desk work I listen to piano music by David Nevue.
- Set my timer and get to it. If it’s a lot of cleaning that needs to get done in different areas of the house then I’ll set the timer for 15 minutes and focus on 2 areas. Usually it’s the kitchen and my bedroom. So, for the first 15 minutes I’ll clean up the kitchen. Then for the second 15 I’ll work in my room. If the kitchen wasn’t finished in the first 15 minutes I’ll go back to that. Usually it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to clean up an area. When one area is done I’ll move onto another area. After 3 – 15 minutes sets I’ll take a 15 minute break before starting again. I learned this technique from Flylady way back in 1999 or 2000 when she was just a simple email list. I use this method when I really just need to get a handle on the messiness of the house. Flylady is a great place to start if you’re looking at building a realistic household routine.
If I have a lot of computer or desk work then I set the timer for 25 minutes at a time taking a 5 minute break between every 25 minute set. I’ll work at a specific task until it’s done or as my schedule allows. Depending on what I’m doing I can listen to music or a book or even have a show playing in the background. I’m doing less of the latter since I am wanting to multitask even less to ensure that whatever it is that I am doing, I’m doing well.
- Celebrate! Look at all I’ve accomplished and call it good. Even if I had interruptions or didn’t get as much done as I had hoped, I’m still closer to my goal than I was before I started. I feel better about the state of my home and about myself. It’s amazing how down we feel when we’re wasting our days away, but as soon as we become productive we feel better about ourselves.
Before I even start I’ll have an idea of what my reward will be. Usually it’s a show I want to watch on the computer. So, I tell myself, “Okay, if you can be diligent for X amount of time then you can watch [whatever it is].” I know it’s silly, but it works!
Tell me, what do you do when you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed and in a funk?