7 Tips for Organizing Your Thoughts

Originally uploaded by Ry

Days like today, I catch myself doing too much thinking.  What I mean by that is I have this intense desire to get a lot of things done (i.e. writing, drawing, grocery shopping, etc) but all I end up doing is sitting and thinking about all these tasks and how great they're going to be when I do them and oh the fun I'll have when all my chores are done, yada yada.  Next thing I know it's 5 o'clock and I haven't done anything.

 So I've taken some action.

1. Turn it off.   The t.v., music, your cellphone. Whatever.  Of course, if these things don't distract you, then no worries, just pretend I didn't mention it.  However, I gotta say, I didn't realize how much of a distraction they were until I started turning them off.  If I have music on, I start to sing along. If the t.v. is on behind me, my back starts to turn towards the computer. Now I use these things as personal rewards. Once I've got my writing done for the day,  I can turn them back on.

2. Get it done. If I find my mind is overwhelmed with "Gotta go grocery shopping" or "The bathroom is a freakin' mess", I won't get anything done.  In fact, I'll probably end up writing posts about the trials and tribulations of bathroom maintenance and how I swore I just picked that dust/cat hair ball yesterday.  So just get it done.   I HATE chores, but more than I hate them, I LOVE when they're out of the way.  Can't clog up my brainwaves if there's nothing to think about, right? 

~side note: allow yourself to stop.  If you're in the middle of cleaning the bathroom and come up with this super great idea and you just gotta get it out, do it! The sense of urgency actually makes it more fun for me.  Drop what you're doing every now and then, your brain is telling you that by jove, you've got it!

3. Pare Down On Organizing. Organization for me is as foreign as the desire to light myself on fire.  It's not that I don't try, it's more that I over do it and in turn, become less organized than I was before.  There is nothing more daunting than realizing you suddenly have 3 notebooks, 5 sketchbooks and a pile of scraps with notes.  Cut it down. One of each!  Why add to to the thought process "Where's that damn idea I wrote down?" when you can have it all in once place.

4. Plan ahead. I'm not just talking about your projects.  I'm talking about the little things, like dinner.  Knowing exactly what I'll be eating tonight is a huge weight off my shoulders.  It sounds so trivial but a gal like me will sit and think about this until it's actually time to eat. Go ahead, try it out.  You might find that you just saved yourself an hours worth of "What do I want?" and put the energy into what you really want to be doing.

5.  Just do it. I've actually had to say those very words to myself outloud.  I know writing, drawing, creating in general is not a forced process, but sometimes I have to insist my brain just do as I say.  The other day I was going to sit out on the stoop and suddenly doubled over laughing. I had actually packed a little bag with my journal, sketchbook, reading material and a bottle of water...for the stoop...the one right outside my front door.  Now I realize that instead of packing for my every whim, I need to just say "This is what you're going to do right now and that's final." 

6. Set simple goals. Nothing too lofty.  I actually give myself a total of about 2 goals a day (these do not include menial tasks like scooping poop outta the litter box).  This helps my mind relax.  The less I lay before me, the less I have to think about, worry about, stress out about when I don't get it done.  Plus, most days I complete my 2 goals in a jiff and move onto more and then I get to pat myself on the back. 

7. Live guilt free. This is the hardest of all.  Just because you don't organize yourself the way everyone else does, or because going for a walk isn't your source of inspiration or because meditation or yoga or whatever aren't great thought organizers, there's no need for you to feel inferior.  Some of us are just old school.  A cup of coffee and a hamburger make us happy and therefore sets us at ease.  Don't force yourself into doing things you're not into.  Guilt is the fastest way to start lying to yourself and if you can't tell yourself the truth, who can you tell?  Nevermind how overwhelming it can be on the creative process.

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    Arts & Dafts aims to inspire, share and create with other artists and art lovers. I'm Ry Pepper, a Jane of All Trades with a concentration in photography, writing, theater, capers, hijinks and other tomfoolery. I'm the daft. -More About

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