I have an anxious mind. It doesn’t take much for me to feel overwhelmed. And when I have so much to do, it paralyzes me instead of motivating me to be productive. There’s little hope once I’m in that state. It takes an impressive force to pull me from that black hole of fear and unproductively.
Ironically, productivity makes me happy. So, when I feel myself spiraling into that dark pit of despair, I know it’s time to get myself organized.
The feeling of “scarcity” is a trigger for my anxiety. And in this type of situation, time feels scarce.
I’ll never be able to get everything done.
So, to get a clear visual grasp on things, I lay everything out. It’s hard to get a tangible understanding of something when it’s just floating around in your head.
Have you ever been chatting with a friend and you start to rattle off allllllll the many things you have to get done?
That alone can perpetuate the feeling of unrest. It all goes back to the story we tell ourselves. If we go around believing we don’t have enough time or that we have too much to do, it’s more likely to be true.
What I use to get & stay organized:
The Happy Planner. When Chelsea introduced this to me sometime last year, I swooned immediately. My number one issue with planners is that they don’t always suit me exactly. You can customize this one any time you want with different inserts. Better yet, you can buy the hole puncher and make your own inserts!
How I use it: Pretty much in every way possible. I use the monthly calendar to map things out (content, events, possible projects). I use the weekly calendar to see my week at a glance. And a good friend designed a daily insert for me that I use to specifically map out my days.
Scheduling things out eliminates that feeling of no time. Seeing when the work will get done helps me breathe easy.
Journal (Markings by C.R. Gibson). I used to journal all the time when I was growing up. But back then blogs didn’t exist, so I guess it was my way of writing daily. What I didn’t realize is that it was a coping mechanism for my anxiety. Journaling gave me the opportunity for a daily brain dump. I didn’t carry around unnecessary thoughts.
How I use it. Just as you’d imagine, I use this however I feel like I need to in any given moment. Like for notes during my morning Daily Hope podcast session. Or as a place to work out how I feel about a situation. Sometimes I use it as prayer, when I can’t quite articulate what’s on my heart. I even use it for future planning to flesh out ideas.
iCal. As a pen and paper kind of girl, I was super resistant to go digital. I wasn’t exactly sure how it would fit into my life. I do not reach for my phone or computer naturally to plan things out. But I was also starting to find that: 1) I didn’t always have my paper planner on me and/or 2) that I didn’t want to take the time to pull it out during a quick conversation. When I started to double book myself, I knew something had to change.
How I use it. My paper planner is where I do all my planning. Something about sitting down with a pen and a blank week or month is cathartic to me. Once I have everything mapped out, I transfer it into my iCal for quick reference. While this may seem like an unnecessary step (and for some of you, it might be), this is just how my brain operates. I recognized my strengths and weaknesses and adjusted accordingly. This system works great for me. Using my iCal also allows for me to quickly add in a meeting or event while out and about rather than whipping out the paper planner. This way, nothing falls through the cracks.
Staying on top of everything helps me feel in control of my time. Just like some people can’t work unless their surroundings are clean, I can’t work unless my mind is clean. Organizing thoughts might be a strange concept, but it’s a powerful one.
How do you organize your mind?