Spinning Out, Turning Your Back on Responsibilities and Well Basically Overwhelm

Photo Credit: Alexlens

Photo Credit: Alexlens

“Spin” he said as classic Madonna played in the background. He knew only ‘Vogue’ could get an amateur like me anywhere near a decent pose. Although it was ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ that really got me serving the looks. Kinda. He’s a Tokyo videographer and is currently honing his photography smarts so I get to spin and play with him in his studio while he moves around shiny stuff and gets me to move around too. But this photo is genius – a happy accident so please enjoy. And forgive the cheesy ‘Oh-no-she-didn’t’ title of this missive. Spinning out, turning back on responsibilities. I hate myself for being so CHEESY and OBVIOUS. At least I have a good haircut and tremendous ear jewels.

And now I’m back at home and at my computer and in my office and I pulled my Goddess card and it said something about sacred spaces: should I tidy up? Throw some more things away? Keep riding the Spring-cleaning wave? It’s not really tidying up week – it’s admin and get things done and content sending and meet deadlines week. So I pull another one – something about being magical and manifesting if I have really clear intentions. AHHHHHHH. Manifest my arse. I’ve never manifested a written report in my life. Unless you count actually doing the report. Which I suspect is what I’m going to have to do, Just do the work. Oh yeah, that’s what manifesting is. DOING THE WORK. Intention: write report. Manifest: By typing flipping information into report template. Yup. I’m going to have to manifest that shit all by myself.

BUUUUUUUTTTTTT after a fun photo shoot and lunch with creative beloved I feel all open and creative and I bought magazines to read instead of scrolling Instagram and watching YouTube videos. You know, get myself away from the screen, although I love those activities apparently I have to give them up because that’s the thing to do now. Ping ping.

What I want to do is play, and create and write things and plan and dream and get into imagining January 2019 and reverse engineer from there and plan holidays and book flights and decide what to buy for gifts and shit my brother’s birthday’s coming up and the parent’s 50th wedding anniversary and Dad’s birthday and is there any way I could squeeze in a cheeky secret UK show-up in July as well as and I need to book a weekend or a couple of weekdays by the sea, I’ll book a nice hotel somewhere for when we go down to the in-laws in Golden Week and I really must move that coffee table to outside and should I water the plants or is it going to rain and OH I have an idea for making videos – I’ll start to populate my Youtube channel – I’ll just go and find the tripod and I should buy proper mic *goes on online shopping store*, and I’ll make a list of all the creatives I want to interview and the questions I want to ask and style the sofa and check the lighting and I wonder if I need Skype for business if I’m going to interview and record them over Skype and and and and WHAT AM I DOING?????

All this dreamy stuff is not going to get the reports written, the content designed and sent to Laura (the best assistant in the world. Fact.) for proofing and sending by Wednesday and then there’s the 300 flyers to design, get printed, collect and send physically to someone BEFORE SATURDAY that I said yes to last week (because I love the idea of what they are doing – no regrets there), and the survey I said I’d send out for the JMEC team I’m mentoring and I need to cross check my calendar, get in touch with my executive clients past and present and check the schedule email my husband sent to me about Golden Week and decide where to go and stuff and things. Oh and I’m locked out of my UK only banking because the minute I reset my passwords last time I instantly forgot them. I knew I would, so I wrote the password in my bank account file. In code. That I don’t remember. So I have to get on the phone to the lovely call centre people and I’m embarrassed to do that because it was only February I contacted them last time I forgot my log-in procedure and the guy on the other end had to take me through everything very v e r y slowly “Speak to me like I’m a child. I’m not joking.” I said.

So I do know what to do next. Actually it’s the report that’s already late. So that is first (after this of course) but then things get a bit squiffy. You see in this highly creative, pinball-minded, hungry, highly-alert state it’s really hard for me not to drift either in my mind or actually drift into a different room or the garden or different activities. So I have to have tricks, tools and systems to help me with this. If I don’t I will not have a business. Do you hear me? I WILL NOT HAVE A BUSINESS. (I actually LOVE having a pinball mind. It makes me creative, imaginative and fun, and I can imagine things and make them happen and decide not to do others. It pisses people off sometimes that I don’t seem to be able to concentrate or I get lost in my thoughts or I change things or am really happy with doing things last minute. So I try to mitigate. And be a pro. And I have an assistant who is focussed and doesn’t drift and keeps me on a long rope and sends me reminders and keeps me from going totally off course, while at the same time not laying an egg when my timelines get a bit ummm creative. Which is always).

So as soon as I am off this missive to you I am going to do these things:

1 – Write very clearly on a post it note REPORT 1 and also put that at the top of my to-do list that is in my list notebook

2 – Before actually doing the report I am going to do a Brain Dump

This is a technique coined by David Allen I think, where you put on a timer for 10 minutes and download EVERYTHING that is on your mind. For example mine will include not only things I have to do like the other 6 reports, write content, go to see Lumina Learning tomorrow to prep for a workshop in May, and then these will be prioritised and listed up with little check boxes next to them, but also other things like – my pal’s missing cat, I feel sad for person A, that strange behaviour from person B. Then I will cross out all the things in the last list because I can’t influence them OR I will put them in the not-doing-now list or come up with some way to take action over them. This is extremely helpful in calming down my incredibly active and open mind.

(This very active mind is often the combination of having been in great company and therefore having a great time and feeling creative and energised, having a good night’s sleep and eating well and doing work I love, like the Lifeplanning workshop I did yesterday at Temple University, where the participants were all delightful, or the izakaya-karoke night with visiting beloveds on Saturday, or the aforementioned photoshoot. I become calm and open and joyful and creative. That said I know I need to do the process-oriented work. So I am satisfying my creative itch by doing this post. Then I’ll Brain Dump. Then I’ll do that first report. Then I’ll…)

3 – Put a timer on for 20 minutes.

This is because when I have pinball mind, if I don’t do this I can clearly write my next 3 actions on a post-it and have it visible, but might very often find myself in the yard, repotting the fig plant when the alarm goes off (a thing that has actually happened). Or doing the dishes and listening to a Podcast thinking I’m winning at life, then the alarm goes off to remind me I ought to be doing my reports. Or making the bed. Or creating a lovely vignette in the house. Or tucking into British Vogue (Have you seen this month’s cover? I got FBGs. It’s phenomenal). Guess what – I actually started moving toward that Vogue AS I WAS WRITING THIS. Pinball mind is in full effect. So much fun. So not useful right now.

So I put on a timer for 20 minutes to remind me to return to the task at hand. Boring necessary tasks that I owe my lovely clients who pay me money to deliver workshops and write reports.

What I won’t be doing is some phony gratitude for the reports. Fake forced on-paper-good-coach-girl gratitude. Nope. (Now I’ve said that I wonder if that is the way to go! Maybe it’s just part of the story that will relieve the reporting pain. Another one is not to try to be a good-girl and get the top marks on the report-writing and keep them simple anyhoooo – I digress into self-coaching). I really don’t like doing them at all. I’ll do my best to make them more fun to do, like race myself to get them all done by lunch time, or watch reruns of my favourite shows so I don’t pinball too much while doing them. I really have to crank them out but I could make it feel better. In fact I’m even wondering why I do that yearly 3-day workshop at all because I spend half a day writing reports on the client progress. In fact I might say no to this project next year and make up the payment in other areas. Saying NO is a brilliant motivator to generate more business through my own projects. Interesting. I am genuinely thankful for the project, the transaction and the people in the workshop were lovely and I enjoyed my 3 days with them very much but I’m not sure if it’s worth it next year – let’s see… Also if I’m overwhelmed I guess that means I’ve kinda taken on more than I feel excited about so that’s a really good one to think about and where I could trim. What am I doing because it feels like a quick payment that’s easy-but-dull (yet still takes time and energy) versus what am I doing because I really want to and because I am excited about the event or project? I suggest you do this kind of review too in your business or life! What do you need to slash-and-burn in order to not burn-out and to make space for the things you really want.

So there it is. I’ve had my creative fix writing this. I’ll do my Brain dump then the other things on my list, put on a timer and just do the flipping work. Manifest that work using my fingers and my computer and get it done.

Sarah Furuya