We all get overwhelmed sometimes. If you’re anything like me, you spend your life either dashing about from one place to another or staring at a screen. Even when I do get some time to myself, my mind isn’t calm. I’m thinking about the next day’s work, how I grow my business or what’s in the fridge for the kids’ tea.
My stationery addiction and how it helps
I’ve always been a stationery addict but recently I’ve realised that my affection for a good pen and a pretty notebook has a role to play in helping me to deal with busy brain syndrome. There’s something very grounding about physically holding writing implements rather than typing something into a laptop or smartphone, I suppose because we don’t do it that often anymore.
I’ve talked before about the benefits of taking time out to unplug (you can read that post here if you haven’t already). The thing is, you don’t need to go on holiday to achieve that. Just switch off the laptop, put your phone down and take out your notebook. When I write for clients I’m always reflecting on the effect that my words will have but I find that there’s a permanence to putting pen to paper that encourages me to think even more deeply. If I’m trying to think of topics for new blog posts, work out a strategy or just make a plan for the following day, sitting at a screen sometimes makes me go blank. Either that or I get distracted by Facebook and don’t get anything done! Moving away from the computer stops that from happening.
Making a plan
Lots of things start life in my notebook. I jot down notes about my audience, ideas about who you are and what you might need from me. Potential topics for blog posts flow from that and writing it all down means that I know immediately whether I’m onto something or not.
I’ve found that this approach also helps with planning. When you run your own business and pretty much everything is your responsibility, it’s easy to dot from one task to another without getting anything done properly. I sat down and wrote a schedule setting out what needed to get done, how long each task would take and when I was going to do it. By assigning blocks of time to each task I know I’ve got everything covered. I don’t panic about what I’ve got to do next and get overwhelmed because there’s more than one thing still to do. It’s all there in front of me.
Celebrating your achievements
Of course, knowing what needs doing next often depends on understanding what you’ve already accomplished. I sometimes find it hard to celebrate my achievements. It’s much easier to say “yes, but I still need to do x, y and z”. Using a notebook or journal to write down your successes helps you to recognise how far you’ve come. You can do this on a daily basis, writing down what you achieved during the day followed by your plan for what needs to come next. My fabulous mentor Laura Dunn has some great guidance on this here and also recommends daily meditation. I confess that I’m trying this one out and it definitely helps but I’m not consistent enough yet!
What do you do to unplug and deal with overwhelm? Are you a notebook and pen fan like me or do you have another technique? Get in touch, I’m always open to new suggestions!
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