Ginge Unhinged

You Don’t Need to Be Organised to Get Sh*T Done!

The Chronicles of a Messy Mind

I’ve always been seen as a bit scatty, a little unfinished and well… not so organised. My own mother is constantly surprised that I’ve made it to near forty despite me: passing my driving test at 17, having a mortgage at 19, raising two humans (all be it haphazardly), had a 23-year career, then started my own business launching my first book. Yet the eye-rolls still come, when I don’t fold my washing immediately, or that the food shop is far from regular, I mean who doesn’t like the risk of what you can make out of half a lemon, an out-of-date yogurt and some cheese? Or I forget the time of the thing she mentioned during one of those calls from parents you answer urgently because they’ve rung you at work, only for a one-sided chat about Fanny next doors cat!  It’s funny how these small insignificant things seem to determine the labels I’m given.

I actually believe I’m great at organising things like: people, big events, or work projects and I was pretty good at the doing part too, juggling was my favourite hobby. I often would be that person who did all the things, the big stuff anyway…until one day I didn’t.

The Fuzz

I liken it to the ball joints loosening one by one on a rollercoaster. Things start to rattle; parts fly off and before you know it the ride that seemed fun, suddenly turns into a nightmare.  The fuzz got me like this. I don’t mean the Police came knocking, the fuzz is what I call my depression…and it stripped me of the most basic of tasks. I was far from organised, even far from scatty, I was miles away from even thinking about the end of the day, let alone what I had to do in it.

Stripping Back From Stress

It seems weird to say that being in such a dark place, was one of the best things to happen to me, but I own my weirdness, so I’ll go with it. When you’re at your bare bones you do hide for a while, but then you must take stock and face what’s there. Amongst other things that the fuzz grew from (for another blog!), the unknown stress of juggling everything was a huge factor, causing my mind to get messy and burnout. I needed to figure out how to rebuild myself.I wasn’t sure how, I just knew it needed to be in a way that felt purposeful enough to keep going yet felt sustainable, giving me a sense of accomplishment. So, I started by, shifting away from aiming big, set very small goals, then as I achieved these and reflected, I found this affirmed my self-belief, slowly building my confidence. Within months I was making wiser choices around what would take my time and building a small step plan to some big dreams.

Shift away from aiming big

Big dreams are awesome and when the fuzz is in its cage, all my pistons are working and life hasn’t thrown a curve ball of shit my way, I’m definitely one to manifest and gaze into the future of what could/will be accomplished. I am a dreamer with a vision board, 80% hard graft and 20% left to magic and I love it!

However, when you’re in a place of low mental health, or overwhelm has you pinned, or perhaps there’s just a need to take a moment to recalibrate, try to avoid looking at your day like a huge to do list.

Instead try re-setting the way you think about the outcome you’re aiming for. We all do it, have that thing to do and then write 101 things to do to get to the outcome of the thing to be achieved…I know right even typing it seems whack! There we are stuck not really moving forward on any of it. This is the time to temporarily put the big goals or the outcome we’re after to one side, you’re not forgetting them, nor does it mean you’ll lose track or fail to get there, it just means your approach needs tweaking because right now it isn’t serving you. It’s merely taking the focus on everything that needs to be done down a few pegs by re-evaluating smaller simpler outcomes!

Set Smaller Tasks

When the fuzz had me at my worse, I would simply write one thing down and tick it off before writing the next; get up – tick, kids to school – tick, walk dog -tick. I didn’t even plan at first, just writing and ticking off each task as the thought that whatever needed doing would come. This wasn’t a list it was simply one thing at a time. I found this almost re-wired my brain affirming it was taking some action whilst keeping it slowed down enough, to allow capacity for other things like therapy.

Now you might not be at that point where you need to break things down so literally like brushing your teeth, but let’s say you’ve set the date and booked the venue for an important event and there you are, a list as long as your arm on the fridge that seems to be going nowhere!   There are a couple of ways you can approach this event 1) take that list and break it down into smaller chunks that you’ll take on before you move forward – however my guess is you may have already tried this or 2) sack off this list!

Yep, get rid of it, you might be thinking WTF but hear me out. You know the date, you know the venue, you probably already have a rough idea of how this event will look and feel like. If you don’t, try thinking about just that first – not what you have to do to get there, just what will it look and feel like in your own mind being there, really visualise it, take it all in. This isn’t something you’re going to forget! So, instead of the list, set time aside to get stuff done, visualise and just do the first thing that comes to your thoughts that will contribute to the event happening. Only after that task is done, write it somewhere to mark off complete – what’s next?

The point is our brains often steers us to things we want to do, or what we have energy for and connecting to a positive feeling is powerful, so lean into this. Mingling with people at your event, invite the people, visualising how the room looks? Sort the décor and so on.

Reflect On What’s Really Been Achieved

Whichever method works for you in breaking tasks down into bitesize actions, taking stock of where you are is a good move. Over time I learnt to reflect on my day and notice just how much I’d achieved in those very basic tasks at a time when it felt like I wasn’t achieving much at all E.g. the dog walk meant I’d been with nature, whilst exercising, Logan-dog was happy, and I’d had a (sometimes forced) conversation with another human – go me!

Reflecting does a couple of things. It allows us to see where we are by looking at what has been achieved and often, we’ve managed more than we first went in for. E.g. whilst booking the DJ, they’ve connected you with the perfect caterer, suddenly you’ve ticked two things off and you didn’t even have to think about it and your brain is starting to re-wire with a belief that you’re actually getting shit done and this builds confidence.

Accomplishment Manifests Confidence

It’s often an unconscious move to bring more onto our plates we adjust to cope with a little more each time. The art here is not doing more, it’s about being aware of why and how we are managing to do more. As my capacity to focus on multiple things instead of what was initially ahead increased so did my desire to aim for things in the future. I was gaining more confidence around what I could take on without overwhelm because I had practised and been successful at achieving the small stuff. It was like a constant flow of accomplishment which felt great! Before I realised, I was juggling again, however this time I had been so purposeful in not looking too far ahead and continuously reflected I could almost catch myself if it was all getting too much. Then I felt a shift, I became very aware that my method was working for me, however the expectation of others niggled, maybe I should be doing more? Showing up in more places? This is where I had to ground myself back to those early days and remember that I’d chosen to re-build myself with purpose that felt meaningful to me.

Choose Wisely

Do you remember when we all had bubbles during those crazy times of covid? We had to choose carefully who we’d let in, even though we may have just wanted to see everyone!

It’s ok to take more on, change up your approach and you might even re-visit the list on the fridge or find something else that works better for you to accomplish what you desire, but choose wisely how, what and with who you spend your time. It was at this point that I switched it up a bit. Purely by accident, I discovered bullet journaling, giving me a strategy to the juggling thoughts and tasks and this was a game changer in terms of managing my day and getting stuff done that really mattered.

Remember those bigger dreams are still there on the sub bench and when you’re ready to bring them on you’ll want to be using your new confidence and whichever strategy is working for you to accomplish those that really matter to you.

I’m just saying, be mindful what you let in your bubble!

So, What About the Big Dreams?

Even if you’re the most organised person, it takes courage to take the leap to your real dreams. There’s lots that can set us back in going for something big, lack of confidence in our capability, gaps in our knowledge, not knowing how, finances, time, existing commitments, blah blah blah the list goes on. It can all feel like one massive wall to climb over so we stay safe in our pen like the rest!

Once my brain was back in a creative space, I could feel the presence of those big dreams starting to percolate at the side line. It was time to re-evaluate and spend some time thinking about what I really want to bring into my life. As mentioned, I’m a dreamer so I had to get really clear on what was going to be the ongoing focus for now and get comfortable with parking some back for later – letting go of that ‘what if I don’t get to them all?’ feeling.

This is when I created my first vision board, placing pictures together that represented a few of the big dreams. I then focused only one, reconnecting just like I had with the small tasks to the feeling I would have when I’s accomplished it and painting a picture in my mind as to what it would be like to be in that moment. From then, like before I just started, one thing at a time as it came, slowly building momentum, working through the things I didn’t know, learning so much and enjoying the ride as I consistently reflected on my achievements – managing various small goals – all forming part of the bigger plan.

Even now, about to publish my first book, there are times when I must check back in with those minute steps, I’m not saying I’ve mastered overcoming overwhelm, but I know when the juggle feels a strain, I am still moving in the direction I desire in a way that’s right for me. Still accomplishing stuff that’s meaningful and connected to my purpose, which feels awesome to write and so far away from the days where the fuzz had me believing I had no purpose at all.

It just took one small but bold step at a time.

2 thoughts on “You Don’t Need to Be Organised to Get Sh*T Done!”

  1. Finally got around to signing up and buying your book! So fab Gem, love your words and the way you explain things.

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