Action cures so many things. It give me clarity. It brings peace. It brings contentment. Last Sunday afternoon, I had a bit of that elusive jewel “free time.” Yet, I wasted some of it in indecision. I only had about a dozen different projects to work on, in various stages of completion, a book I wanted to finish, and a few other ideas. Finally, I just decided to sew. I set out to sew for thirty minutes and then after the time was up, I could keep going or do something else. I went to my sewing room, and set up an extra table so I would have plenty of space to cut fabric, and to spread out with my supplies, and I got going. I was amazed at how quick my progress was. I finished the pieced back I was making for one quilt, and then started working on borders for another one. As I worked, I got into a state of flow. I enjoyed the hum of my sewing machine, the scent of the spray I use when I iron, and seeing my projects come together. It no longer mattered how much time had passed, and thoughts of the other dozen projects I could have been working on faded into the background in the joy of the current moment, and the work I was getting accomplished. Finishing some projects gave me such a boost of energy and happiness, that when I was finished, I did some cleaning chores, completed some writing, and read a little on the book I had been wanting to read.
Here is a summary of what I learned from that little experience:
- Do something. Just pick and get to work. Don’t waste time thinking there is a right project to work on. Unless you have a deadline you’re up against, it really doesn’t matter what you choose, what matters is that you choose.
- Give yourself a set period of time you will work, and make it very doable. Start with twenty minutes or thirty minutes. You can always work longer if you want to.
- Set up the environment. I think this is important. Take a few minutes to get out everything you need and make your surroundings as conducive to the work you will be doing as possible. Then, nothing will get in your way once you start. You won’t have to wander around the house searching for scissors or a certain kind of pen—you have everything together.
- Be in the moment. As you are working your project, be attentive to your senses. Note the sights, smells, textures, sounds. Enjoy being in action. Notice how good it feels, especially in comparison to being stagnant and indecisive.
- Take a break. Seriously. This progress feels so amazing that you many just want to keep going, and going, and going. Don’t do it. Enjoy the progress, but take a break. Then, decide if you want to keep going or switch and work on something else.
- Action creates action. Once you’re in motion, you want to stay in motion. You may finish your project, but then you will be ready to do something else. Ride the momentum and let your intuition lead you to the next thing to work on.
Do you have any tips for settling down and getting to work when you are overwhelmed with ideas and projects you want to work on? I would love to hear what works for you. Please share your best solution in the comments.