I awoke this morning to the sound of David Allen’s voice in my kitchen. Literally.
My husband was going through his morning routine, listening to an mp3 of Allen reading aloud Getting Things Done.
Man, I forgot how good that book is! Quickly engrossed, and drawn in by Allen’s dry wit, my husband and I silently prepared coffee and eggs, fed the dog, periodically laughing and sighing with contemplative recognition and agreement.
God, I love my husband. How inspiring! What a cool way to wake up and start the day!
Then, settling into my work day, I opened my inbox and clicked on my daily Truthbomb, delivered by Danielle LaPorte. It’s the only “junk mail” I read religiously. I always silently say, “Lay it on me, Danielle.” And, she does.
Finally, the featured picture above is of my favorite spot in the world, the one where I always imagined my ashes to be scattered over some day. It’s a little dirt road off of Highway 1 in Big Sur, CA, behind the Big Sur Inn, 11 miles north of Esalen Institute. I sit here when I’m able to get south, and I talk to God, looking out over heaven, always leaving filled with gratitude and acceptance in my heart.
I don’t know about you, but when I get filled with inspiration, the first thing I want to do is:
SHARE IT WITH SOMEBODY
So, here are 3 invaluable tips I was reminded of this morning, which I want to share with you:
1. Get “IT” out of your head.
All the NOISE, the constant reminders, worries, concerns, “stuff”. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write it down the old fashioned way. Allen calls this “Brain Dumping”, and he has step-by-step instructions for how to organize this clutter from your brain and translate it into ACTION ITEMS , but the point is to literally make room in your brain for clear creative productive thought. Allen explains that our brain does not know the difference between remembering to take out the trash, and remembering to complete the presentation for investors. Your brain gives each of these equal weight, equal space in your brain. Until we release these down into a trusted system, we are using up valuable space.
2. Do the most important things FIRST.
Ugh. I kind of hate this one, but you know it’s the truth. We all know what is the most important thing on our to do list today, but many of us (me included) have a tendency to push that sucker over into tomorrow, and the next day, and fill our immediate attention with “filler”.
Not today! Together we can do “IT”, the most important “IT”. Make a declaration right now to stick a big ol’ #1 by that item you know you should do, and roll up your sleeves and commit.
The take away for me this morning was the simple reminder that how I spend my time is a CHOICE. And, while I can not control the outcome, or other people, places and things, I sure as hell can control my own actions. JUST DO IT.
3. Schedule time to THINK.
This is a biggie, folks. When we are dumping the crap out of our heads, writing down all the things we need/want to do, carving out the priority and getting ready to dive in to DO that priority, DON’T FORGET TO SCHEDULE TIME TO THINK.
That means, carving out a place, a time, and making sure you have all the writing tools (white boards and sticky notes ROCK MY WORLD) so you can keep that freshly cleared brain of yours open and ready for genius.
Carving out time for thinking, for planning, for preparation, for creative ideas to prosper is the most valuable contribution you can make to yourself and the world.
To Think, you will need the following:
a. No distractions.
Turn off the phone, close your mail app on your desktop, tell anyone within earshot that you are unavailable for ANY interruptions. If music is your thing, turn it up. If quiet is your thing, turn it all OFF. Respect this time.
b. Be ready to have ideas.
Assume you are about to get some juicy stream-of-consciousness going, and make sure you have your favorite tools ready to collect it all: white board, sticky notes, Evernote, video camera, recorder, paper, your favorite pens. Whatever you just LOVE, make sure you have it ready and LOTS of it. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of ink or batteries and stop your thought process. Kill your thinking, and you kill your possibilities.
c. Be comfortable.
I like to treat myself really well when I’m about to be creative. I pour a fresh perfect cup of coffee in my favorite mug, get out of the restrictive jacket and put on a snuggly sweater, maybe even move locations to sit outside in the sun or a favorite cafe or in front of the fireplace at home. Think of yourself as a favorite house guest that you want to make feel extra special and welcomed in your home. Shower yourself with your very best attention and get ready to tend to your needs.
When you make yourself comfortable, you feel relaxed and safe, and your thoughts are free to wander out of the box into realms of possibility.
There are so many more tips I could share with you, but really it all comes from mentors who have shared with me. Ask me for my favorite resources, and I’ll gladly share more with you!
Bonus Tip: Your Ideas Have The Power to Change the World
I have a creative crush on Nancy Duarte, of Duarte Design. Call it a full on infatuation. Not only is her book, Resonate, a MUST-READ for anyone human, she just released this killer FREE online multi-media version that made me cry. Enjoy, and pass it on.
I’d love to hear from you in comments!