How to organize and cope with overwhelming thoughts
Living life as an Artist, Creative, Free Thinker, whatever you call yourself can be both a daunting task, and a rewarding lifestyle.
You feel rewarded every time your imagination is lit on fire and you create something out of nothing. Yet... even that can be daunting afterwards. What to do with all these amazing new thoughts, ideas, projects? Do you ever feel obligated to bring them to life, and when you don't (or how about when you do but never finish them!) you feel discouraged, let down, or even angry at yourself?
Yeah. Been there. Done that. Every. Damn. Day.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem in the first place. Haha! I don't know if I would classify it as a problem, but... no... ok... some days it's totally a problem, like a life crumbling problem. But! It shouldn't be looked at like that.
Here are a few realizations and actions I've taken that have helped me deal with life and inside the brain of a creative thinker.
1- First, don't try to change.
Obviously we're looking to make changes, but avoid changing what makes you, you. When I realized I had too many thoughts and not enough time I tried to be very practical about it and stunt my imagination. Remember how I said driving in cars gets my mind buzzing? Well when I found myself dreaming up something huge that I knew would never happen I immediately halted the thoughts and conversation saying it was all a waste of time.
Moments like this truly give me energy, daydreaming, growing thoughts, thinking out all the details. Cutting that off completely was just taking that energy away from me, and ultimately changing who I am, which is totally unfair. Don't take the gift of your thoughts away from you or the world.
Which brings me to:
2- Decide in that moment how serious this is.
Instead of trying to repress these thoughts (because they will just keep coming, it's who you are!) in that moment calm down and asess-
Is this idea realistically something that has the possibility to come to life? Do I want to commit hours or days to it after this conversation? If the answer is yes, awesome! Carry on!! If it's no, that's ok too! Feel fee to keep enjoying the moment, dream big, but what matters now is that you have separated in your mind what is going to need to play out in reality, and what's not, which is key. Now when the conversation ends you can keep your life on track. You won't accidentally turn your super power into another daunting, unneeded task in life.
3- Don't start more than 2 projects at a time.
This is hard. As a creative your mind is scattered, as are your interests, and probably attention span. You want to try a little of everything, and you do, all at the same time. While variety is good, this will surely result in disaster for so many reasons. You're going to feel overwhelmed. If you start 25 things at the same time what that also means is now you have 25 unfinished projects and because you're used to this pattern, if you do by the grace of all that is holy finish 1 project, you'll start another one. It's a revolving door. Never will you feel or be caught up in life's tasks. But. Imagine just 2 projects happening. With 2 projects going you have the freedom that when you get bored you can skip around, but you're forced to come back to 1, allowing you to keep a focus and actually finish something. This is is going to leave you feeling accomplished, proud, motivated, and all those good feels. Now does this mean you need to stay stunted to 2 ideas? No! Check out the next point
4- Make a goal list and allow yourself time to think about what's on it!
This will allow you to get excited and plan for everything that's coming up without actually physically starting something, making a mess, and walking away. And the best thing about lists- they can be changed. A week from now if you change your mind about redoing the entire kitchen, that's ok. Cross it off the list. Thankfully you had time to sit and think about it for at least a week because you made the list, instead of ripping out a few cabinets the moment you get that creative itch and then realizing that was a stupid idea!
5- Be the dreamer and feel free to give the dreams away
If you're like me, I just like the dreaming up process of creating. After that I want to SNAP my fingers and have it done. Taking action is where I fall short (I dream faster then I can do.) Reality is also a buzz kill. When I dream up opening a speak easy, releasing a clothing line, publishing a magazine, having chickens, and traveling the world in a van... I realize, for me, my brain would explode if I tried to take that all on. I have also realized after practicing step 2 so much that I don't physically want to run a bar, or manage a whole magazine, or be on the road every day in a van, so... I'm ok with giving those thoughts away, either setting them free to the universe or gathering with like minded people, sharing my thoughts on certain subjects, and watching them bring it to life. I'll be more excited when that speak easy opens and I can kick back, drink in hand, visually taking in the beautiful surroundings I may have helped inspire, instead of running around in the back dealing with staff and customers... like the owner has to do. Dream. Let Go. Enjoy. Go Home Happy.
This is all just the beginning. Being creative means you don't know what's going to happen next, not even in your own brain. But sorting it all out and being the boss of your thoughts will help you enjoy this lifestyle, because it's a beautifully diverse one!
Hopefully this list will be the stepping stones that will allow you to enjoy your creativity more often instead of getting overwhelmed by it. Your thoughts are a gift, a talent, and most importantly, you. Be aware of that, embrace that, and enjoy it!