March 3, 2017

One Easy Cure For Browser Brain

You know that joke about your mind being a browser with 12 tabs open?

Three of them are porn, two have videos going and where the hell is that music coming from?

That’s me all the time.

Ok, maybe not so much the porn, but the rest? Yes.

I’m constantly multi-tasking or flitting from task to task like a crazed hummingbird but with paint and a computer in hand…wing.

There are days when I can’t get my mind to shut down so I can sleep.

I bet a lot of you are like that too.

The thing is, that this constant jump from Facebook to painting to writing emails to making videos to whatever has affected my attention span pretty profoundly.

And I know there are days when I do a lot of flitting and don’t get a lot done. And I spend a lot more time thinking about all the things I need to do, feeling overwhelmed.

I was complaining about this to my coach recently.

Now I don’t complain a lot. Generally, my goal is to be part of the solution, but sometimes…sometimes a good whinge is needed.

Especially when my browser-like brain is just making me crazy.

My coach, Martin, looked me in the eye and asked, “Why don’t you make to-do lists? They’ll solve this problem.”

I don’t make to-do lists! NO! Those are for organized people who have it together.

I’m more chaos held together with duct tape.

The few times I’ve made lists I’ve lost them or forgotten about them.

Besides, I was sure that wasn’t my problem. I’m just slightly this side of loopy at times.

But Martin persisted, as he tends to do, and convinced me to try making lists using an app.

Of course, instead, I made a list in a notebook that I have next to my computer. It lives here. Loss is less likely.

And as an artist and tactile person, I love putting pen to paper. It has more meaning for me.

So I wrote down all the things I needed to accomplish in that week. Big and little. Anything that came to mind.

And then I stopped to paint. Just paint.

My thoughts stayed with my process. My presence was 100%.

I moved to the next task and edited videos. Thoughts stayed there too. No thinking about what’s waiting for me. No more sense of being overwhelmed.

And for several days, I referred to that to-do list and crossed things off as they got done. Added more things to do.

I could see my progress.

My brain became less frantic.

Martin, dammit, was absolutely right.

And while I still flit and multi-task, because that’s how I am, I don’t do it nearly as much.

And when I feel like I’m getting nothing done, I look at all the things crossed off my list and know that I am doing the things.

To do lists. Who knew?