Being or feeling scattered at the beginning of a new year is common for Small Business Owners who are focused on improving their business’s performance as well as their own. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Susan White, who is also a 2-time #1 Bestselling Business Author, wrote this guest post to share how to utilize being scattered to better organize.
Susan White’s sharing of how being scattered may be a good thing…
I began this new year in a very scattered state of mind! I haven’t done what all the organizational and thought gurus encourage us to do regarding the assessment of 2019 and goal-planning for 2020. I am feeling very scattered…
You may immediately judge this state of mind as good or bad; right or wrong, or perhaps even have checked out because you see no merit in reading what somebody who is “feeling scattered” might have to offer. Conversely, you may be curious, which happens to be one of my favorite qualities!
What is the value in feeling scattered?
As I was pondering this question this morning, it occurred to me there is a blog here. What this means is the first value to come up for me about feeling scattered is curiosity! I have an image in my mind of scattered, which can also appear as clutter!
When I think of clutter, I envision so much chaos and stuff in random piles that I can’t make sense of exactly what is in those piles. It just appears to be an overwhelming mess I want to ignore or sweep into the trash. In order to identify and make sense of what’s within the clutter, I need to create some order.
Step 1: Your Scattered Assessment
Sometimes, when our minds are cluttered, the first step we need to take is assessment. In this case, it comes in the form of journaling or list making. I happened to use an app called notepad. How can I write so fast as to keep up with what I refer to as a busy brain? I don’t. Instead, I dictate. I can speak much more rapidly than I can type. In addition to notepad, Microsoft Word also has a dictation feature.
As I identify and say each independent topic or thought on my mind in rapid fire succession, it feels like a personal brainstorming session. In brainstorming, no ideas are rejected during the initial phase. All thoughts or ideas are welcome. Honoring and acknowledging each random thought that comes to me seems to stimulate my creativity and abilities to keep it flowing.
Step 2: Walk Away
The initial step of “decluttering” takes me about 10 or 15 minutes. Then, I do the unthinkable and walk away to do a habitual, routine task. This might be something simple like showering, or something practical like preparing my breakfast or feeding the dog. For me, this serves as a shift to neutral and gives me fresh perspective when I return to my list.
Step 3: Categorization
Next, I create categories. It’s your list, so you can categorize it in whatever way makes the most sense to you! Sometimes I do it by priority, or I may create specific topics since my list contents include home, office, personal or research. I’m sure you get the picture.
The method I like to use, once again, is a rapid fire process. I don’t engage in analysis. I have found scrutiny bogs me down and distracts me from what I’m trying to accomplish. It wastes time too.
Once again, I do the unthinkable and walk away.
You may notice a pattern here. This is where the value of scattered becomes apparent – to me, anyway.
The formal definition of scattered is “occurring or found at intervals or various locations rather than all together.” I USE the concept of scattered to manage being scattered.
Think of other words for scattered. Some examples might be: disburse, break-up, separate, dissolve. Is it helpful when you are organizing a big mess to be able to break it up or separate the mess into small, manageable piles? Don’t those small manageable piles make it easy to identify the contents? I choose to USE scattered to benefit and help me rather than allow it to continue to create chaos and clutter in my life to the point where it USES ME.
Conventional wisdom might judge being scattered as bad or wrong. I find judgment will bog me down and limit me. I use scattered to move on to my next thought. When feeling scattered, behavioral medicine might apply a diagnostic label for a thinking or mood disorder. I choose to label scattered as a quality. It is one of many qualities I share with others. Having identified it as a part of me, I can easily identify or recognize it when I see it in others or experience it myself.
Step 4: Prioritization
Now what? I return to my list, and since it is categorized, it is more manageable. This helps me prioritize. I take a first things first approach in prioritizing. Today is a work day. I choose to focus on those things that are categorized as work or professional development. My schedule reveals I already have three client appointments scheduled for today, and then I have a couple of deadlines to meet. I have time today to address my two lists and I schedule doing so.
Step 5: Scheduling or Calendaring
I USE my calendar, because I am as organized as I am scattered. If I didn’t have time today. because I had eight scheduled appointments, then I would look at my calendar for the next day I’m able to schedule managing my lists, and do so. Then, I would walk away…
You may identify this process as organizing, creating structure, or even having self-discipline. It is all of those, although it began with the quality of scattered. I don’t know about you, but I find it fascinating to realize that the value of scattered is to be able to be flexible, open, and capable of creating order.! Taking you through this process as I experienced it has been refreshing! It helps me realize I am more on-track as I enter 2020 than I initially thought. The concept of scattered has become a beautiful thing!
By the way, writing this blog has been one of my several diversions from my list, while also addressing my list. How can you use the concept of scattered, and manage what you do with YOUR list, to create order and make sense of it?
Happy 2020! It’s a new year, and a new decade.
Whatever you do today, and whomever you choose to be today, above all – make it count!