I am by nature a very unfocussed person.
The kind of person who will go to the grocery store because I suddenly need one thing, pick up a bunch of other things while I’m there (to be efficient), and then come home and realize I forgot that one thing I actually went there for.
The kind of person who packs a lunch for work, the night before, and even gets my morning smoothie all ready in the cup for the blender – but leaves for work the next morning forgetting both things, and has to stop at the coffee shop for supplies.
I’m the girl who makes verbal plans with people, forgets about them, and then takes a spontaneous trip out of town because I have a *free* day.
It’s horrible, isn’t it?
My husband, my daughter and our friends… they think it’s part of my charm. They laugh, and forgive, and shake their heads, and sometimes it really is funny.
And then usually, when the situation is passed, I mentally berate myself for not being more focussed, more attentive, and I hate to say it…. a better person.
Over the past year, I had resolved to become more efficient, so I increased my personal studies on productivity and organization. I started with books that were bestsellers and recommended by Audible, but as I listened to each book I paid attention to the books the authors themselves referenced, or recommended. Now, almost a year later, my book choices are widely varied, and somehow I’ve gone from researching “skills and habits” to actually learning about how the mind works.
I know, I know. This is a craft blog. Trust me, I’m getting to the useful part.
There is a lot of info out there that can really help you understand how your mind works, but one of my favourite concepts was the truth about how we tend to view current responsibilities as aversion tasks. We also tend to put things off until tomorrow or next week, because we subconsciously view our future selves as the stronger, healthier, more put-together version of ourselves.
The problem is, our future self will never be better than the version we see today, not if we keep dumping on them. We can put off things all we like, but the aversion feelings are still locked into our mind. So we will continue to feel overwhelmed, overworked… and nothing gets done. Or we leave something so long that just as we finish, we are suddenly faced with 3 or 4 more things that need to be done right away. It’s like the longer life goes on, the harder it seems to get.
Can you see that in your own life? I immediately saw it in mine.
While many books promise the secret to becoming organized and productive, we creative types would just be wasting our money to try and apply them all. We are too scattered and wild to be channeled into a singular focus, and that’s okay because it’s what makes us, US.
The world needs more scattered and wild people, don’t you agree?
But there is a fantastic trick to having a good, productive day and guys… it involves time travel.
The technique is simple. In the morning, take a moment to visualize your future self.
My future self is amazing, fyi.
Think, you have to be good to your future self. What do you have to do today, to help that person? Be careful with your money today? Make some stock for your marketplace store today? Give your house a good cleaning today?
As you think about your tasks from the point of view of your future self, you’ll actually get a fast forward feeling of accomplishment. It’s exhilarating.
Now think of your future self at the end of today. Doing something relaxing and indulgent. What 3 things do you want to accomplish today, that will make that scene happen tonight?
Clean the house? Make 3 meals for the freezer? Help your daughter get her newspapers done so they’re off of your front porch (that might be mine).
Write them down, and do them. The limbic system of your brain will send out rebellious feelings of procrastination and will tempt you to shift your focus to something more rewarding, like watching videos of dogs being rescued from a dog meat farm in Korea (also mine). Call it out for what it is, and just do the three things.
I promise you, they won’t take as long, or be as difficult as your brain wants you to believe.
I’ve been using this method for a while now, and while I’m still forgetful and scattered (more on that another day, if I remember – haha), I’m actually ending each day so much better, and it’s helping me sleep better, which has made my mornings so much better!
Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m actually becoming my future me. Here’s an example of how this concept has changed my life so far:
6 months ago, I couldn’t wake up before 7am without being all kinds of cranky and needing a pot of coffee. It would take me at least an hour to be mentally alert enough for conversation. Not joking. I’m also 40, so I really thought there was no changing things at this point, except that it did.
Yesterday, I woke up at 4am, which is something I’ve been doing for a while and loving it. By 5:30am, I was at the gym and by 5:45am I was swimming laps. By 7am I was at work and feeling like 110%, and I had still barely had 1/2 of a cup of coffee.
Instead of being at work all day and thinking about how I’m going to be too tired to go to the gym afterward, I was on an emotional and mental high that lasted all day and it fed into every other task that followed. I am excited to see how where my life will be in a year, and I feel like I know myself so much better, already.
So if you have a craft business or are trying to start one but can’t seem to get all the things you think you need to get done, finished and moving forward… try this method! Your future-you, the more successful, healthier, happier YOU… will thank you.