blog post

The flow of work, productivity and dealing with overwhelm


Hello wonderful people,

Happy Monday!  I hope this post finds you well, creative, productive and blissful.

Today I want to talk to you about overwhelm, manageing your to do list and doing all of the things.  

As a person, on this earth, it is guaranteed that you have a lot on your plate.  I assume this purely based on evidence.  I do not know anyone who doesn't have a lot on their plate.  Now yours may be full of family life stuff - getting kids to all the events, mountains of laundry because tiny people make big mess and tying to keep your home from looking like a large bomb exploded all over it.  

Your plate could also be full because you are working more than one job, juggling social engagements, trying to get your side hustle off the ground or all of the above.  My point is, that you dear reader have a full plate.  

My plate is so full that at times it feels like it is over full.  Piled high and spilling over the edges.  I love my life, that it is busy, that I run my own studio, wear many hats and do all the things - but that doesnt lessen the fact that the overwhelm monster comes to visit.

Hell my overwhelm monster has practically moved in at this point, I made him a nook in the living room and he seems to like it there.   I digress.

My overwhelm has a balance.  A little overwhelm seems to fuel me.  Having a lot to do - especially creatively when Im in optimum productivity mode and happily painting away - seems to fuel me further - like a dynamo.  I get going and once I am whirring away, I cannot be stopped.  

However, all too easily, that little overwhelm somehow gorges itself on what I have going on, multiples, grows five times bigger and starts to tear strips off my mental faculties.I am honest about this because it doesnt take that much to tip a person over into the land of overwhelm, stress and frustration.  

In the end this overwhelm leads to a feeling of being trapped, stuck in concrete or thick tar.  You cant move forwards or even sideways because overwhelm, all mountains that need to be climbed seem twice as tall and five times as steep as they were last week and oh my god doom!

I have been looking for ways to handle this FOREVER.  Overwhelm, a full plate and getting stuck in the quagmire are repeating cycles for me that I havent been able to really get a handle on - until now!

I am a follower of Creative Live - their courses are amazing and one such course was lead by the wonderful graphic designer, illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon.  

In this course, she goes into her own process for handling all the things - professionally and also shows how to include the personal and let me tell you it has been a game changer!

So of course when I find said game changer, the only thing I can responsibly do is share it with everyone!  I have linked the course below and I highly recommend you check it out - especially if the overwhelm monster also seems to have taken up residence in your house.  

 So how has this course helped me so far?

  • It reaffirms I am not alone.    Sometimes one of the most important  feelings in the world, is that of knowing you are not on your own.

  • All of my projects, tasks and lists are now in one centralised place, organised and easy to access

  • I have a deadline for absolutely everything - most of them are self imposed and now I have to be accountable for them but creating these deadlines for myself has really helped

  • A rolling to do list.  I no longer plan every day of a week in advance.  I add in appointments and things to remember where necessary and only plan 2 days ahead at most - e.g. last night I planned for today (Monday) and tomorrow (Tuesday)

  • Working with blocks of time - this requires self discipline and a timer and the ability to focus - all things Lisa goes into in the class with helpful tips about how to get around things like distractions and lack of motication.  I now work in chunks - I have a set of sticker sheets to design, allot myself say two hours today - when the time is up, its up and I move on to the next thing on the list.  If the designs arent finished, I roll them on to tomorrow to complete.

  • Giving myself a break - literally.  I take a break between every time slot I allocate now.  For example, I work for two hours and give myself twenty minutes off - long enough to make a warm drink, have a snack, check my social media and stretch my legs.  It means that I feel refreshed and ready to come back to my desk after every break and also reduces that feeling of being chained to my desk.

Well my lovelies, I hope you check this out - if you need it.

Signing off now

Lots of Love