This is a continuation of my previous post (linked here). If you haven’t read my definition of “Creative Brain,” I suggest you read that other post first.
So, you can identify with suffering from “Creative Brain,” or CB, as I call it. Good news! God made you super creative, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in real life because of it! This post will cover some of the tactics I use to overcome CB, so I can function as an adult in real life.
First, if you’re like me, the brainstorming doesn’t stop… meaning, your brain keeps coming up with a million ideas every minute. Ok, maybe not that many, but ideas happen frequently — frequently enough to derail your good intentions. My husband told me for years to write it down, make a list. And while that helped to a degree, it didn’t solve the problem. I would write things down, and make a list every day of what I needed to do each day. Yes, I got the things out of my mind so they weren’t bouncing around and getting jumbled up there, BUT that didn’t mean I always got the things I wrote down DONE. It helped ease my crowded brain to write things down — and yes, things did get crossed off my list — but not always in the right time frame. I was still crossing things off out of order. Sometimes it would be weeks before something written down on a paper at the bottom of the pile would get crossed of… then finding that page to cross it off was another story! …I had about eighty billion index cards with my brain scribbled out on them… that was not helping. haha.
So this is what I did. Yes, writing it down works, but I was missing the key element. I stumbled across David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. This is an awesome book. It’s pretty common sense stuff, but it really helped me. I listened to it on audio book, just so I could start implementing the concepts quickly. The key I was missing was his biggest point — the next action. Instead of writing down a vague concept, like “website,” because that’s what I had to work on, think about the next action on that website, and write that down. THAT HELPED ME IMMENSELY. It seems obvious, but apparently not obvious enough for me to get it the first time.
Just think about the next thing you have to do on that list item, and write that down. For my website example, is it to sit down at the computer and start building? Or is it to call the guy and talk about what he wants? Ok, make the phone call. That’s what I need to write down. “Call the guy about the website.” That takes it down from the huge task of “Website,” to “phone call.” THEN it’s not a huge overwhelming thing that gets put off. It stops the feeling of being overwhelmed, and it stops the procrastination of big projects. Get a few of these manageable tasks checked off, and you start gaining momentum. Momentum means progress… Momentum leads to you being a juggernaut of task list success! Momentum means your brain is not bundled up in things you’re not getting done!
So that little key, writing down the next action, made a huge difference. I highly recommend checking out Dave Allen’s Getting Things Done book — or audio book if you’re like me and want to read it while you’re driving so you can do things other than reading when you’re not driving…. ok enough about that.
Once I got that key nugget down, I needed a reliable place to write down my next action steps… and what do I always have with me? My phone! So, there’s an app for that — it’s called Chaos Control. There’s also one called Things that I like as well, but Chaos Control has all the features I need, and it works perfectly for me. It might cost money, but I don’t remember exactly how much. PS, I’m on iPhone so these apps can be found in the iTunes store.
In a nutshell, these are the things that helped me untangle my brain. Write down the next action for each project, and put it in a reliable place (the app on my phone). Now that you are armed with this new knowledge, the future is up to you. Tame your Creative Brain, and get some things done!
Now it’s your turn! What do you think? What helps you tame your Creative Brain?