“Sketching is the breath of art: it is the most refreshing of all the more impulsive forms of creative self-expression and, as such, it should be as free, and happy…”
Ever sit down to do work and find that you are anxious, easily distracted or simply can’t sit still and focus long enough to get anything done. After an hour or so of pretending to do ‘research’ playing Candy Crush Saga then you just give up all together.
Did I just blow your mind with my telepathic skills? How do I know you so well you ask? I admit I am not telepathic, but I can relate because most of us do the same thing at some point in time or another [though simple tv is my procrastination weapon of choice]. I’ve had days where all that I have to do positively overwhelms me and stops me before I even get started. So how does one keep moving when their brain is on lockdown?
How to fix your brain when it feels broken.
I have a few things that work for me when I need to force myself to work. Some are kooky and some are more acceptable to the masses and a bit more traditional. No matter how you label these suggestions they are here and ripe for the picking. The key is to choose what works best for you so that you can get what you got to do DONE!
1. Create your own ritual. Short definition of ritual: Any act or procedure that is consistently followed. Key word: consistent. This tip is by far, I feel, is the most effective for a lot of people so we shall start here.
Can’t complete a sentence until you’ve had a cup of coffee, tea, or bowl of ice cream? No work until you’ve had a good meal and a shower? Thirty minutes of reading and a good workout to start your day off right?
All of those sound like good ways to get your workday started. Recognize when you have a ritual and a way of starting your day. Don’t fight it. Honor it by completing your daily practice and get going. If you haven’t noticed what you do to get your day going, start paying a little more attention to yourself. Use what you discover to make your work time productive time every day.
2. Exercise. If you are fidgeting and anxious sometimes a quick burst of activity is just the right thing to get the ants out of your pants.10-15 Jumping jacks.1-2 minutes of jumping rope. Running in place for 30 seconds. 5 push-ups. Don’t do them all, just pick one or two. The key isn’t to get you tired. The goal is to get your mind and body to focus on the primary activity that you want to perform. This also works if you are feeling a bit sluggish and need to wake up a bit.
3. Pick A Place. Anyplace. Sometimes you need to get started plain and simple. Often times we sabotage ourselves by saying we must complete a specific task before we complete another. Not for any reason in particular, just because you have it in your head that it needs to be done that way. Maybe you should start with the task that you most dread.Or start in the middle instead of the beginning. Go ahead and do it. Get it out of the way so that you aren’t dragging your feet to avoid getting to it.
4. Go to sleep. Are you procrastinating or are you exhausted? Know the difference. If you’ve been working way past your bedtime lately maybe the best thing to do is go to sleep. No one gets any medals or trophies for passing out at their computer, just a nasty kink in your neck. There is a lot to be said for going to sleep for a few hours [or at least an hour nap if you must work] and getting up with a fresh [and rested] perspective.
5. Play a singing bowl. I can just hear you now: “A what??” Before you start saying how crazy I am, read more about it. A singing bowl is known primarily a tool used for meditation. It has also been thought to be a tool for healing. It is played by running a wooden dowel known as a striker around the rim of the bowl. It is one of the purest, clearest sounds you will ever hear. I love them because whenever I play it feels as if the sound resonates through me clearing out all the cobwebs. Sounds all cheesy and new agey, but it works for me. Regular meditation without the bowl to focus or clear your mind works pretty well too.
6. Write in a journal. There’s nothing better to clear your mind than getting all those thoughts rolling around in your head out of your head. Sometimes when you choose to write down those problems, concerns, and ideas cluttering your psyche you actually have the opportunity to work through them or flesh out the idea while simultaneously freeing up space to think about something else! Perfect.
7. Find the best time. Discovering where and what time of day you work best is essential to being productive and keeping focused on your work. Can you really work with music or the tv on? Are you more alert in the morning or in the evenings? Do you have to hide in a secret place at a library or at home to work effectively? Making these types of personal assessments will ensure that you are going to be successful when it comes to getting your work done.
8. Go to a movie. ...[or listen to some new music, or go dancing, or go to a concert, or read a book] This tip is two-fold; if you are trying to focus or jumpstart your creative brain. This is definitely my favorite tip for obvious and not so obvious reasons. Sure it seems like a procrastination tool, but just listen to my logic. When you go to an event or happening where other people are being creative it literally refills your creative well when it is reaching critical status. I find that when I am looking at someone else being creative I, myself, end up feeling more inspired and creative. Therefore helping me to think a little out of the box when it comes to problem solving. See! That wrapped up nicely with a bow.
9. Make a list. Last but not least, you should make a list of what you need to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed with the 100 things you believe that you have to do. Make a list. Lists help you fully define what it is that you need to accomplish. There are times when you believe you have lots to do, you make a list only to discover that a number of your tasks can be combined, streamlined, or eliminated all together. You might find that the 100 things you have to do is actually just 50. Don’t you just love it when that happens?