I find that on a daily basis my head is filled with ‘white noise’.
While doing one job I am thinking about another, bills that need paying, things that needs cleaning or deadlines that need meeting.
My thoughts often run away with me. I have a hugely overactive imagination and while these days I embrace that and use it to my advantage with my work, in the past it has hindered me quite a lot.
I find myself trying to keep multiple spinning plates in the air on a daily basis as my thought process leads me to starting multiple jobs at once (think emptying the dishwasher while putting a wash on, wiping down the oven and making breakfast). Ultimately I end up stressed, unproductive, and overwhelmed.
Take bills as another example; when I know I need to sit and pay bills manually or make phone calls to change details I end up leaving them until the very last moment because I think they can wait or I’m too busy. When I remember that it needs doing and is actually quite important I get that feeling in my stomach; a mix of something like dread and nerves. I am well aware that no matter how much I am constantly working I am never ahead or on top of things.
Even my work can be the same, making the time to organise how and when I will write for clients was something I hadn’t managed to do properly. Rather than my work being fulfilling and enjoying it like I should be, it had become a huge cause of stress and worry.
Then I discovered ‘brain dump’ days and it changed my life. It is such a simple concept (I actually find most processes to do with helping mental health issues are) but it made sense and got me organised. If I suddenly find myself feeling overwhelmed again I realise my admin days had slipped by the wayside and that I need to get myself and my thoughts organised in order to feel sane again.
So what is a ‘brain dump’ day? Well, it is simply a day of the week where you get all those rubbish tasks done. All of those little things that you put off like cleaning the oven or organising your work load for the week, prepping your dinners or making overdue phone calls can all be done on this one day. Set the same day aside each week to get all of those menial tasks done. Throughout the rest of the week if any little thoughts pop up about stuff that needs doing you don’t have to stress because you know you can add it to your list and it will sorted on admin day.
Once you get into the habit of doing this you can start to organise the rest of your week too; assign work tasks to each day of the week depending on importance and do the same with housework and chores and any other jobs in between. It was only recently that I realised I simply didn’t have the time to clean the entire house in one day. My daughter goes to nursery twice weekly and I would try and set aside one of those days to clean the place from head to toe but have come to accept that with the way life is at the moment it is impossible and I was putting too much pressure on myself.
Not only did I have work I needed to be getting on with but also before I knew it, it was time to pick her up and I was still elbow deep cleaning the toilet and stressing that everything wasn’t done.
Now, I clean certain rooms each day. There isn’t a big structure to it I just go by which rooms look the grubbiest! I aim to clean two rooms a day but if I am working or we are out for the day then it gets left. No biggy. It will still be there tomorrow.
Having a set routine or rules to follow for organising my week has really taken the pressure off and helped me feel a lot less anxious. It has also helped me prioritise what is important in my life and that in itself has made me a lot happier.
I first learnt about ‘brain dump’ days from ‘muchelleb’ on Youtube, her channel is amazing go and check her out!