Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clearing The Mind Clutter

We have been talking about tools to use to increase creative opportunities.  When developing a routine (discussed here and here ), you may have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of things you are behind on when you made your list.  First determine if that is really true.  It is one thing if there is a deadline that must be met, like delivering work for an exhibit.  But the other things you are behind on- are there actual deadlines, or have you made some arbitrary deadline?  If the arbitrary deadline serves you and your goals- great!  If it only serves to cause anxiety about being behind- not so great. 

Our minds are incredible tools; untrained they are little monsters.  If there is one thing the untrained mind is very good at, it's messing with us if we are not paying attention (which, I think, is pretty much most of the time).  Arbitrary counterproductive deadlines are an example.  Continually running through the 'mental list' of all the stuff we have to catch up on is another great one.  Want to clear it out?  Get out a piece of paper and write down every single task or activity you feel you are behind on, in no particular order.   A number years ago when a friend and I did this for ourselves: there were well over a hundred items!  Very few of them had "real" deadlines.  It was all made up.  You may have more or less.  Once it is all down, initially add to it as new tasks arise.  Each time your mind begins to think about cleaning out the closets or whatever, remind it that it is on the list.  It does not have to think about it anymore.  This takes practice as the mind looks to latch back on.

You can now use your list appropriately.  Prioritize the activities in a way that makes sense.  I highlight the items I want to complete first.  Then take your written routine and fit in an activity from the list.  This may be once a week, once a day, or once a month- depending on your list and other responsibilities.  Practice being ok with it not all being done- the nature of the untrained mind is to ensure it is never all completed.  This is accomplished by adding new things to do.  If you catch your mind continuing to do this, it is ok to say, "no!"  No new things may be added or thought about until this list is completed. You get to choose what to think about.

As a part of my routine, once a week I will do a house fixing task from my list.  I originally began it first thing in the morning on the appointed day,  but I adjusted my routine to complete it mid-day when it is too hot for me to be outside painting.  I spend no more than 1-2 hours on the task and if not completed, it is the one I do the next week. (This keeps me from leaving a trail of half-finished projects- which is another way my mind loves to mess with me).

This was just one example of beginning to discipline the mind.  Do you have ways that you have cleared out the mind clutter that you want to share?  Click 'comments' below to post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Link Within

Related Posts with Thumbnails