Busy Brain

This little episode comes to from the middle of the night. Yep, awoken by my busy brain just before 1:00am, capturing the moment to share a few thoughts.

Mind you, I just went to bed three hours ago, intent on getting a good night’s rest to start the week. Hmm. Didn’t plan on this little situ.

But here we are. The kicker that got me writing instead of just rolling over? A middle of night “bio-break”, as we call it at work.

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

And now my mind is flooded with work thoughts, and parenting thoughts, and so on…it is a little sneaky overwhelming.

So figure I’d make some lemonade out of this lemon (and red-eye interlude) by jotting and sharing a few strategies I employ when Busy Brain hits. Not sure what the science says about how to battle this situ, but here’s what I do.

1/ Like I tell my kids all the time when they say they can’t got to sleep, “Clear your thought box.” In your mind’s eye, counter the Busy Brain directly by forcing out the thoughts. Push them out; take control of your mind. Be persistent and insistent; clear your mind, or otherwise, focus on what you want to, not whatever pops up.

2/ Count your breaths; and make them slow, deep and full. Start with ten. Then repeat. And repeat again.

3/ Do exactly what I’m not doing just now. Keep your eyes closed; don’t turn on any lights( no screens. 🙂

STAY IN SLEEP MODE. Insist on it. And stay relaxed; and cozy; and comfortable.

That’s what I’m going to do right now.

Busy Brain? Stay relaxed, stay in control, OUT.

At Capacity

Lots of context for this concept. You might be “at capacity” in any of a variety of ways.

At capacity in learning, a sort of plateau of absorbing new things;

At capacity with activities, not able to fit another event on your schedule on a given day;

At capacity in repetitions, not able to do another pull up or arm curl or plank;

At capacity with projects, every day already full with no room for another thing;

At capacity eating your vegetables at dinner; this affliction happens on nearly a nightly basis at my house.

You get the idea. But here’s the thing.

Capacity is a dynamic quality. It’s a parameter that must always be considered. Capacity might be limiting in the immediate, in the short term.

But in the aggregate, it’s just another variable that must be considered in striving for optimal outcome.

You should always consider capacity, and you should also test its limits. Carefully, thoughtfully, but for sure, test, push, strive to expand the limit.

The outcome?

It will make you better. It will help you reach your goals. It will make things GOOD.

Linkage

When I studied political science in college, we learned about linkage. The concept was applied with respect to the Cold War, the superpowers, and linking of attitudes, policies, behaviors, actions and consequences. 

Linkage is also true with respect to circumstances in our personal and professional life. Very little happens in a vacuum.  

Example? Last night things got crazy busy at home. There were crying, fussy kids, my wife was out with some girlfriends…I was solo dad trying to keep it together. 

 Everyone survived, but I didn’t get things done that I needed to: a few letters, some financial review, a couple emails, dishes, they got pushed out. That situation slowed everything down for today, changed the dynamic, and required adjustment. 

My response after some admittedly strong frustration? I poured a little cold brew coffee, took a few deep breaths, and considered my reality. 

What do I need to shift on the list, what must still get done on time, any meetings I can reschedule? I shuffle, jive, shift, and all the while, work to move things forward.

This sort of thing happens more than I’d like to admit. It’s why being able to handle change, adjust, figure out the best next step, and have a good attitude all the while is helpful. I do ok, overall.

I remind myself, 

“As long as you’re doing what you want to do, taking care of the people and things you’re responsible for, you’re on the right path.”

Change is the only constant, as they say.

The trick as I mentioned earlier, is to keep a good attitude overall as you go through the process. You need to maintain your focus on the big picture, even as you’re required to adjust your tasks, your tactics, your priorities.

Realizing that things are linked together, that you have to be ready to modify your plan and approach, that’s a big part of the secret.  

Change happens, as noted. The question is, what do you need to do to keep moving forward? 

The linkage between your attitude, how you approach your goals, and the realities of daily life is undeniable. How you respond is up to you. 

Even Flow

even_flow.jpg

This phrase came to mind when I was sitting in the daily morning meeting at work.

“Even Flow.”

I’m like most people, taught to create to-do lists early in my school career as a way to manage my time and get my work done.  I think I learned about the practice in the my Study Skills class in 4th Grade.

When I got into the professional world someone gave me a little volume about time management.  One of the central themes and related tools was creating a “master task list”,  where everything went you had to do.  I started using composition books about ten years ago to maintain my master task list, which I still maintain and use regularly.  The goal is the same:  Create and Maintain an even flow in my work efforts, to get things done.

Even with the master list though, I find myself making a little scribble list on my notes paper when I’m sitting in meetings, to further hone my focus for any given day.  I review the master list, and then make a scratchpad list to attack for the day.  It’s a good exercise, at least for me.  Sort of like stretching before a run.

The master list is like the workout schedule/plan, the scratchpad list is the stretch before I hit the streets.  It gives me an even flow of how I want the work efforts to go, provides the proper mindset and assures readiness for the day ahead. And then what?  ONWARD into the day with focus and good attitude ~

What’s the bonus in all this?  When the title  of this post came to mind, so did this classic 90’s grunge song by the same name  ~ Enjoy.