I was supposed to take some time to relax.
The stage was set. Epsom salts and lavender essential oil were in the tub. A cup of tea was on the ledge. Everything was ready… except my brain.
After a 4 month creative hiatus, it just. wouldn’t. shut. up.
Now, why exactly was this such a problem? Shouldn’t I be out-of-my-mind with joy that all these ideas are swirling around after having taking such a long break?
Um, not so much. The issue is that this constant influx of inspiration makes my adrenaline pump, my heart race, and my breathing grow shallow. They’re all-too-familiar signs telling me I’m trying too hard. Rushing. Feeling like it all has to be done yesterday.
To stop myself from the spiraling, I reassure myself I have plenty of time. Plenty. Possibly 80 years (after all, I predict I’ll live until I’m 115.)
I jotted down a few notes (using washable crayons on the bathtub walls; I highly recommend them) and sunk back into the steamy water, breathing deeply to slow my heart rate.
“Calm down,” I told myself. “It’s not like all 137 ideas are going to actualize in the next 40 minutes… or could they?”
“Of course not,” I remind myself. I closed my eyes, finally able to return to my happy world of lavender bliss.
The Curse of the Creative Mind
There isn’t a creative entrepreneur out there who hasn’t had moments (or a never-ending life) of major idea overwhelm. You’re not challenged to find great, new ideas. Instead, you’re wondering how the heck you’re going to keep them from completely overwhelming you.
I hear you. And getting through idea overwhelm is exactly what today’s post is all about.
What to Do When Idea Overwhelm Strikes
Overwhelm Relief Trick #1
Pay attention to every idea, but don’t let them take up too much brain space.
A good way to keep your brain from going nuts (and stay organized) is to keep a mega list of all of your ideas. It can be on paper or electronic, but you MUST capture them somewhere.
Doing so helps your brain relax because it know’s it’s been “remembered” somewhere you won’t forget. This way you won’t have to stress yourself out worrying about hanging onto every potential Next Big Thing.
Writing it down doesn’t mean you’re going to act on it. Simply put it in the idea hopper and say, “I’ve got it down. And I’m working on this other thing right now.” This will be the chill pill your brain desperately needs.
Another great perk of keeping a list means you’re keeping all of your ideas in one place, so it’s easier to separate the awesome from the not-so-awesome when you’re ready to take action on something new.
Overwhelm Relief Trick #2
Notice the “stories” that surround your ideas
When inspiration hits, what do you tell yourself? Is it something like…
I have to do it NOW, or it’ll never get done.
My people need this from me.
If I don’t take the plunge, someone’s going to beat me to it.
I needed the money yesterday!
Pause. Take a deep breath. And change your story.
Remind yourself that despite what you may think, you do have the time to make these ideas happen at a pace that’s steady, reasonable, and above all, sane!
Nothing brilliant was ever made in a big ‘ol hurry. Even if you feel you should have this new product or idea ready to go tomorrow, if you push yourself too hard, the quality of what you create will suffer, and your reputation will follow it down the toilet.
Overwhelm Relief Trick #3
Borrow my sanity mantra.
I’m not a big mantra girl, but I do have a few go-to’s when I get desperate. Here’s my go-to mantra for busy days:
Everything that needs to get done will get done exactly when it needs to get done. Tweet that!
My whole body relaxes when I say that. Feel free to borrow it as often as you need!
Remember: There’s Always More Time
There’s no need to create the next life-changing program or product tomorrow. Give your ideas time to incubate and develop, and give yourself time to enjoy the process. In fact, taking your time and nurturing the creation process will actually make for a better result (which helps your bank account and your reputation!).
Don’t get caught up in the idea that life in the online space is a massive race. When it comes to crafting an idea that will change the world, you need time to make the big impact you’re meant to have. It just won’t happen overnight.
Repeat after me: I. Have. Time.
You’ve got at least 20, 50, or 100 years (hey, modern science is moving quickly!) to change the world in the way you see fit. So give yourself a break. Move steadily, instead of speedily.
How Do You Handle Idea Overwhelm?
Now that I’ve riffed on handling overwhelm, I’d love to hear from you!
How can you tell when you’ve struck with idea overwhelm?
Is there a particular symptom, freak-out pattern, or habit that reminds you to take it down a notch?
I can’t wait to read what you’ve got in the comments below. And, as always, thank you so much for reading and sharing!!