When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself: Am I doing the most important thing right now? Here’s how to decide and move ahead.
Why even ask?
Because when you ask this question (Am I doing the most important thing right now?) you will often find that you are not. In fact, you’re stalling. And if you had forever to live, I suppose that might be all right. But you don’t have forever to live, and every minute that goes by is a minute that has gone by.
So as the pressure builds (especially as the pressure builds) you engage with activities that take you further from feeling fine, because you feel this slipping away of time — and it’s overwhelming.
For example: You have a deadline at work. It feels overwhelming. So what do you do? You visit your Facebook page. Not only does this not advance your progress toward your looming deadline, it makes you feel worse because, let’s face it, Facebook often leaves you feeling worse. If anything, it often leaves you feeling more anxious than before you visited.
All I’m asking you to do is ask a simple nine-word question. (Am I doing the most important thing right now?)
But isn’t it pie-in-the-sky to expect that I will be able to actually do the most important thing when I ask the question? If so, why even ask?
Because time is passing. And because the most important thing might not be what you think it is.
You might be surprised.
The most important thing can be many things. It might mean rest, for example. Or time by yourself. Because you are creative, your inventive mind needs time by itself to formulate your next move. When you don’t give yourself enough time to create, you look for something to stimulate your mind from the outside (like Facebook, for example.)
Time for yourself is what most creative men often deprive themselves of most, to the detriment of yourself and those you seek to serve (including yourself). You just keep grinding, when what you need is time to regroup. Whether you are leading others or working as a solo craftsman, your brain needs frequent periods of rest to
your next push of creation.
How much is enough?
Most studies show that five to ten minutes of brain rest can significantly improve your brain’s performance. So if you were to ask the question: “Am I doing the most important thing right now,” and got back the answer, “No,” and took five to ten minutes to let your brain rest, you would be giving your brain time to regroup and focus more clearly again.
Best way to get it?
Write. While there are many ways to rest your brain, most experts will tell you that the best way to quickly recoup your brain’s energy is to write.
Why? Because writing is both relaxing and active. Again: if you asked yourself in writing, on the page, the question, “Am I doing the most important thing right now?” And answered yourself on the page, in those five to ten minutes you’ve just given yourself, you might be surprised at what you come up with and how helpful those few minutes were to rejuvinate and refocus your creative brain.
Ask yourself: “Am I doing the most important thing right now?” and answer yourself on the page. The act of slowing for those five to ten minutes and writing, when taken together, will bring you surprising clarity and focus.
Want more help?
I can help you with refocus on what’s most important right now.