Several of my colleagues have noted over the years that I am “all about the Productivity”. Those who know me well, see a woman who is constantly in motion or making lists or being creative with making crafts or designing my next best creation. While I do not believe in being in a “busyness” state of existence, I do believe that to be successful, we must literally grab the creative energy when we notice it tapping at the edges of our consciousness. I was so excited when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic; Living Beyond Fear recently. She was writing specifically about how creative ideas are born and come to life by partnering with those people who notice them. All too often we are distracted by so many stimuli in our world that we forget to notice or we ignore those little tickles of ideas at the edges of our attempts to focus on our daily tasks. Yes, these little tickles of ideas can hold some of the most amazing accomplishments in our lives, if only we stopped to pay attention; even if only briefly.
The skill in this process is learning to know the difference between a tickle of an idea and what I call my “Look a Pony!” Syndrome. This is where I will tell on myself. Hi, my name is Cheryl and I officially have “Look a Pony!” syndrome. On a morning not long ago, I awoke from a sound sleep with a burst of creative energy. I tried for over an hour to just go back to sleep but that little tickle of an idea kept waking me up. I know to listen to those tickles and I got out of bed, put on a pot of my favorite coffee and started writing. I published a new blog post and sent a list of design requests to my web designer and noticed the time and realized, I can get a whole bunch more done before my regular day starts. I started to grab some materials to work on fine tuning my Blueprint in my Daily Action Planner and had to move my son's school photos and found myself saying, “oh, I have to scan those and it will just be a second,” and then I realized I had stepped away from the computer originally to grab my cup of coffee and had forgotten to send a note to my original editor on the book I am working to republish. Oh my, how we can all distract ourselves from our original tasks!
Does this sound familiar to you? Perhaps you are sitting in a meeting and realize fifteen minutes into the discussion that you stopped listening to the conversation and were lost in your own internal thoughts. This is another typical distraction in our busy days. Most of us are thinking about several things at once and the grocery list is floating somewhere in our minds while we are building our next business model or writing copy for a marketing piece or simply traveling to our next appointment. What do you think helped me refocus in my story? If you noticed, I mentioned a Daily Action Planner. I had a written list of things I needed to accomplish already sitting on the table next to me. I also had a pen and paper ready to jot down notes as ideas popped into my mind. Sometimes I use an electronic note taking option and sometimes I use a pen and paper. Whatever works best in any given moment is the right tool to use. The goal is to grab the idea so you can revisit it later and assess if it is something to grab onto or a “look a pony” item.
When I work with my clients, I use a lot of list making and note taking exercises. I also always carry a pen and a little notebook in every briefcase, suitcase, purse or backpack. I even have extra little notebooks and pads in each corner of my car and every room of my home. I personally recommend keeping them in every location where you may find yourself sitting throughout each day. I like to write with pen and paper. I believe we are losing that art and the physical act of writing for me is quite calming and helps me to focus my thoughts once I have read what I have written. The concept of list making and note taking also helps to grab those little tickles of ideas so as not to lose them and then to refocus on any particular task at hand. Did you ever find yourself at a networking or other event and suddenly a great thought or a minor detail of a thought pops into your head? You know you want to remember this for later but to keep thinking about it will distract you from your current experience. The simple act of writing it down ensures you will be able to revisit the idea and also allows you to quickly refocus on whatever is happening in your life.
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