Getting things done does not mean doing it all today

I’ve been getting into Crystal Art since the start of Melbourne’s last lockdown. It’s similar to paint by numbers but instead of paint, you apply small crystals to a sticky board. I’ve found it very therapeutic and relaxing over the last few months.

The other day I spilled one of the crystal packets all over my floor and let me tell you, I was completely annoyed with myself. They are very small and fiddly little things and there’s a reason why they provide you with a special device to pick them up to apply them to the board. So there I was, facing an unexpected task that looked like it may take a good while to complete. And the response I had to the task was very similar to that of wanting to get a lot of things done all at the same time. I felt impatient, distracted, and I realised that although I wanted this to be over NOW, I couldn’t pick all those little shiny suckers up at once.

No, I had to calm myself and I had to focus. I started with a patch and kept going in a methodical way. Every so often I would step back and see some patches that I’d missed or some crystals that had really made a run for it, and dive back in. Once I got over my annoyance and impatience it wasn’t actually too bad and I got it all cleaned up fairly quickly. This experience reminded me of a comment I got on a video recently.

“Your “ideas machine” post totally struck a chord with me. As a business owner my brain feels “full” all the time and I don’t have capacity to think about executing ideas. I feel like I’m a computer with no RAM and I can’t help myself get out of it.”

In a conversation with that person later, they revealed to me that they’ve recently started doing a brain dump with their partner who happens to be a fabulous Executive Assistant. “She just asks for what I’m thinking needs to be done and then writes it down.”

That’s exactly the process. 

When we feel overwhelmed to the point of being unable to action anything, that’s a solid indication that it’s time to ‘spill the crystals’. Get everything out of your head and sort them. Are the ideas relevant? Are the ideas something that needs to be done now or can it wait? Apply the 4Ds! Then get your remaining list into an order that makes knocking those tasks off one by one doable (such as anchoring them to a time in your calendar). 

Remember to step back every so often and make sure that the plan is still relevant and then dive back in. Swapping between a high-level view (ie: planning) and a detailed view (ie: the doing).

Not every idea or task has to be done, actioned, or completed. At all, let alone today. Keep this front of mind going forward. A client of mine actually has a Post-it Note with this very message above their computer. It helps them stay on track with the task at hand rather than allowing that overwhelmed feeling to creep in and take hold.

If you’re in need of spilling your crystals – grab a copy of the Organising Overwhelm sheet, sit down with a cuppa and go for it! Spill away. You’ll feel immensely better.

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