Creating Bandwidth for Creativity

Do you ever wonder why you might find it daunting to start new projects and or finish projects that you’ve started, you know, the ones that are collecting dust?  The culprit may very well be mental clutter.   

Does thinking about it create overwhelm or inner conflict?  You have great ideas and dreams after all, right!

When we’re disorganized about what it is we really want, and how we’re going to go about getting it, yet have a deep inner pull to create and express ourselves or at least see a project through it can lower confidence and energy levels.  When we feel like there’s too much to do already and not enough time we tend to feel:

  • Overwhelm
  • Anxiety
  • Unfulfilled
  • Generally pissed off or just blah :(

I want to talk to you about a process that helped me clear my mental clutter, created focus and space for creativity in my life.  It wasn’t until I worked through it that I became a super-sonic getter-doner!

I didn’t invent it, I just studied it and applied it.  The idea comes from the author of the wildly popular book, Getting Things Done by David Allen.

The first step in the process is so straightforward it almost seems child like.  Maybe that’s the beauty of it, we adults tend to over-complicate things.  Even so, it requires sitting down initially and doing it.  

Believe me; it’s so worth it.  If you’re serious about working through any feelings of overwhelm you’ll do it, if not, you’re just making excuses.  #realtalk 

Allen states that getting things done isn’t so much about getting things done. It’s more about appropriately engaging with what’s going on at the moment (a wink at mindfulness me thinks), and that you don’t have to go very far to find what you aren’t appropriately engaging with, just notice whatever is on your mind.

The more it’s on your mind, the more it’s probably not happening, and the more bandwidth the thought or idea is taking up.  Hence, the less creativity and calm we feel.  

What’s the antidote for such brain jumble?

Step 1: 

It’s called a brain dump.  Getting it out of your mind and onto paper or a list of any kind.

And that means EVERYTHING.  Every project, to-do list entry, wish and desire.  Big, small, mundane or potentially life altering, it doesn’t matter, dump it all out.  Write out everything and anything that’s potentially meaningful or pulling on your psyche.

Step 2:

Take a look at that list.  Take a look at every entry. Ask yourself of each one:

  • What is the outcome I’m committed to finishing?  Clarity is essential here.  Be as detailed as possible on the goal outcome. This is your long vision.
  • What is the first/next step?  Focus on the very first step required to get you moving in that direction.
  • Do it. 

Step 3:

Create a map and system that works for you that will keep all present and future projects off your psychic bandwidth and on this list.  He recommends reviewing the list once a week and planning out any action steps that will move you forward.  

The actual way you go about setting yourself up and what you use is secondary.  Apps, notebooks, files, post-its, it doesn’t matter as much as committing to the process.  You’ll find in time the perfect combination of tools that work for you.

The paradox is that by creating a system like this it allows for an utterly,  fantastically liberating freedom with your time.  Time to do things that you love and that light you up.  And isn’t that what life’s about?

If you’re a creative type and feel resistance towards the idea of shackling yourself to any system I challenge you to question where that belief is coming from.  Give your beautiful mind some space to create.

I’m giving you homework today.  

I want you to try the brain dump.  

Initially start by sitting down and getting it all out.  Carry a notepad or something to record your thoughts on for a week though, because you’ll find more and more things coming up.

Once you get them out of your head and compiled I promise you’ll start to feel your brain relax.  But the next step is crucial because if you do the brain dump and don’t act on it, you might fall back into overwhelm.  All it takes is small consistent steps, though, so just keep with it.  

Comment below and let me know what you think!

About the Author Rachel Hansen

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