In my last installment on time management, I want to talk about organizing your mind. (you can find the previous three articles here, here and here). Organizing your mind is just as important as organizing your space or your time. As a Visual/Spatial person your mind can run at 100 mph all day long, making it difficult to focus, let alone accomplish anything constructive. But there are some tricks that can help.
One of the first things Visual Spatial (V/S) people need to do is write things down. All of it. When something comes to mind, write it down! Why? 2 reasons: 1st, when an idea hits, it usually doesn’t stay long, which means it is gone 5 minutes later. So when that great idea shows up, record it! Post it notes are great for jotting things down. 2nd, when you have 100 things swirling around in your mind, it makes it hard to concentrate on the task at hand. Writing it down lets your mind focus because you know you won’t forget to call Penelope about the carpool.
Another way to clear your mind is to do something creative. Most Visual/Spatial people are creative types. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean doing crafts or making a quilt. It can be writing, cooking, or even organizing an activity. Doing creative things regularly helps to keep us from getting overwhelmed by the sameness of routine. V/S struggle with routine because it gets boring. Being creative allows our brains to have fun. Fun is good! So, plan some creative time into your week. It will make you more productive the rest of the week.
When you are in the middle of a project, but need to leave it and finish it later, what do you do? Do you leave it out all over the kitchen table? Do you put it in a box in the closet? Did you know that where and how you put something away can determine whether you finish it or not? Who knew? As a V/S person, out of sight is out of mind. If we put that project away in a box and put the box in the closet and close the door, chances are, we will forget where we put it and lose all enthusiasm for ever finishing it.
If you can’t leave your project on the table because it will get covered in peanut butter and jelly, or you need the table for dinner, put it in a clear container. Leave the container where it is out of the way, but where you can see it, such as on an open shelf. It will be there, neat and tidy, waiting for you to come back to it. And your brain will see it and remind you to get back to finishing it.
Have you ever had something you knew you needed to do, but really didn’t want to do it? Stand there until you want to! Our brains are reluctant to do things we are not focused on. As a V/S person it can take us a while to move from one activity to another because our brains are still focused on what we just finished. If we stand there (or sit there) and look at what we need to do next, our brains will catch up with us and suddenly we are involved in the new project. So stand there until you want to!
The last thing I want to talk about is one of our greatest gifts as a Visual/ Spatial person - our ability to generate ideas. We can create 100 ideas on the best way to do something in 5 minutes. All day long we are generating ideas. We write them down so we don’t forget them, right? As homeschool moms we can think of 15 ways to teach a topic. It really is a wonderful gift. But it can be our worst enemy too.
When we generate these great ideas, or we hear someone else’s great ideas, we automatically think we have to DO all of these wonderful things. Nope! We don’t. Trying to do all of those ideas can lead to burnout. Especially if you think you are failing your kids by not doing what everyone else is doing. If you learn only one thing from this series it should be this—Not every idea deserves a life! Repeat that out loud. Post it on your mirror. You do not have to do everything that pops into your head. If you write your ideas down on post it notes first, instead of neatly in a notebook, you can wad up the ones that in a day, or a week, sound like too much work, or are impractical. Then they disappear, never to bother you again. But the ones that you know would be a good use of time and make sense to do, those you keep on your master list. And your stress level can stay at an acceptable level. If there is one.
If you have enjoyed this series, you can go to the ldshe.org library and download my class on Time Management- Why Can’t I Make It Work. On there site you can find over 700 classes on all things homeschool from some of the most popular speakers. Be sure to check it out!