Are you a victim of overthinking when it comes to reaching your goals? It’s so incredibly easy to become lost in your thoughts, thinking about everything that needs to be done so that you can accomplish your goals career-wise and personally. Constantly trying to prioritize and remember the random thoughts that pop into your head when it comes to planning your life can feel so overwhelming. As can feeling like you’ve forgotten to do something vital to your success and doomed yourself forever.
In my case, this overthinking and constant worry about staying on track causes me to shut down. Instead of becoming proactive, I will procrastinate or shift to a less stressful task completely. When I start allowing myself to fall into this thought-trap, tasks remain unfinished, my brain remains foggy, and I remain discontent.
It is much easier to pretend that the voices in my that are head telling me to get sh*t done don’t exist than to face them bang-on. Here are five tips that work for me when I am trying to free my mind and organize my thoughts.
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1. Create a List
Jotting everything down in a list is one of the best tips I can give you. Not only does it allow your brain to think about other things, but lists can also help you become more productive. Productivity helps with healing, which helps you stay in control of your thoughts. Keeping numerous “to-do” items in your brain is not only hard and mentally draining, but it can cause anxiety too. All you’re doing is constantly reminding yourself of what hasn’t been done yet.
Start writing everything you need and want to accomplish on a piece of paper. As you write each point down, visualize a stream of brightly coloured smoke flowing from your head, through the pen, and on to the paper. Once it becomes an item on your tangible list, allow yourself to forget about it for a minute: freedom.
Remember to physically cross tasks off of your lists as you complete them. This is the absolute best part of the list-creating process! It feels amazing to be able to cross something off and be done with it. It feels like you’ve accomplished something important, and if that’s all you do all day, then at least you can rest easy knowing you’re one step closer to your goals.
Spice up your lists with different coloured pens. Some great ones are the Aen Art Journal Planner Pens as they come in 36 fun and bright colours, so you can liven up your lists.
2. Prioritize Your Needs and Your Wants
Knowing what it is that you need to accomplish versus what you want to accomplish when it comes to your short-term and long-term goals is key. Your needs are actions that must be taken in order to push you forward, while your wants are actions that you would like to take, usually, for pleasure or general interest. As much as it is important to grant yourself some wants, it is vital to prioritize your needs when it comes to reaching goals.
Once you understand what is important to you and what your priorities are, you can begin to make a plan of action. Set clear and specific goals so that you know exactly what it is you’re working towards. This will also help you track your progress. Recognize both your small and big victories and reward yourself for all of your successes.
Remember, it is key to continuously adapt and reassess your goals as you begin to reach them. To stay focused on my goals, I use the Intelligent Change Productivity Planner. This planner allows me to stay productive and track my goals through daily and weekly views. It’s also a great place to write down my lists.
3. Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule helps you realize that there is enough time in a day to accomplish some of the tasks on your to-do list. Allowing yourself to believe that there isn’t enough time in a day to tackle even one item on your list, is negative thinking. Pull that thought out of your head, crumple it up, and throw it in the garbage. There are 24 hours in a day. That’s 1,440 minutes. That’s 86,400 seconds in each and every day. As jam-packed as your day is, it only takes one second to decide whether or not you’re going to do something. Decide to take action.
Create a system for yourself to keep you on track and hold you accountable. Be realistic with your timeline. Don’t expect to accomplish your five-year plan in only two because you’ve completed all of your tasks early, and don’t give yourself a month to do something that can be completed in a day.
If you give scheduling an honest chance, you will slowly start to notice how much more productive you feel, which leads to a clearer head-space and a happier mood.
A great place to start is with the ARTEZA Daily Planner Pad. This notepad includes a break-down of the day with times and headings, making it easy to plan ahead. It also includes mini checklists to help you to keep track of your priorities and productive habit building.
4. Start Journaling
Journaling is an avenue for emotional exploration. It is a tool meant to give you a chance to process and reflect on your experiences. This is a safe and non-judgemental place where you can use the power of words to express yourself. Here, you can rant about how much you dislike schedules and lists. You can be as raw and as real as you want with your feelings in your journal.
With that said, there are three steps that are great to incorporate into your journaling to ensure that your thoughts remain positive.
- Start by writing three things that you’re grateful for
- Express yourself freely
- End by writing down three moments that made you smile today.
If you’re just starting off on your journaling journey, then The One-Minute Gratitude Journal may be a great stepping-stone for you. This book comes equipped with easy-to-follow templates that are intended to build gratitude into your daily habits while allowing you to express yourself.
5. Practice Breathing
Breathing is one of the most overlooked forms of therapy by people all over the world. When a human being feels negative emotions, we tend to hold our breath in a subconscious attempt to still our bodies and gain control. However, when we do this, we are accomplishing the opposite. We lose control of our bodies and our thoughts, creating a hostile environment inside of our mental selves.
Whenever you’ve been swept up by a tornado of thoughts and negative emotions, bring yourself back down to earth through your breathing. Close your eyes, put your feet flat on the floor, and breath in for five slow counts, and out for five slow counts.
Draw all of your attention and focus to the wave-like sounds of your breath and the feeling of your chest ballooning up as it fills with air. Continue breathing until you feel the tingling sensation of calmness warm up your body. Once you’re in a calm state, you can more easily continue on with your day.
Give these five tips a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!