We all do it. A simple task is transformed in to a monstrosity because we overthought how, what, why, where, and when. I’m not even sure how it gets to the point that it can and does but suddenly I’m not unloading the dishwasher because first I need to completely clean out all the cabinets, wipe them down, re-organize, ask if these things “Spark Joy,” and THEN I can unload the dishwasher.
Spoiler: The dishwasher does not get unloaded.
I’m always amazed by people who just get things done. Like how? I thought that I was just broken and would never be able to get things done. Only successful people get things done. And then I had a mini-breakthrough when I realized that people get things done…by doing them.
Its a crazy theory, I know, but stay with me. Instead of thinking about how they were going to complete a task, they just do it. They figure it out as they go along, problem solving if necessary, but never over thinking. Instead of thinking about how much nicer it would be to not unload the dishwasher and instead play your favorite game, they don’t think about how unloading the dishwasher for five whole minutes will cut in to their game time and just do it. They just do it.
And you know what’s weird? It works. You know what’s weirder? Our parents or guardians have been yelling at us our entire lives to stop thinking about stuff and just do it. Mostly chores. Ok, always about chores but they were right! Once you tell your brain to shut the fuck up and simply start to do whatever task needs to get done, it gets done with less effort and you feel better afterwards because, hey, look at how well you’re adulting. I never thought that I would be a productivity junkie, but I kinda am. The feeling of accomplishing all of my to-do’s along with the regular house hold chores, and my daily routine puts me in a better mood and keeps me determined to continue my winning streak.
It is hard to do in the beginning, as your brain is trained now to imagine an infinite number of universes where you do “The Thing” and then analyze each of those alternate dimensions to determine the “Best Way” and soon enough it’s time for bed and you haven’t done shit. I know it sounds strange, but you need to make a conscious decision to not think about how you’re going to do your stuff. Yes, I can hear you all now, “But Natalia, if you try to NOT think about something you end up ONLY thinking about it.” That’s true to a degree. You have to trick your brain. It’s like when you need to get your dog to drop whatever totally-not-a-toy they have so you wave something shinier in their face and totally forget about the forbidden toy and take that instead. Your brain is no smarter than that dog.
That sounded way harsher than I meant it.
What I mean to say, is your brain in that moment is no smarter than that dog. We tend to think of our brains not as just another organ but as us. As in, my brain is me and I am my brain. But it’s not that simple, thankfully, because our brains can be right bastards at times. And that’s because it is an organ, one like our heart, which we need to train and maintain everyday. If that sounds daunting, it’s because it is. No lie, everyday is a conscious decision to be better than the last and to not let your mind take control of you.
Which brings us to tricking your brain. My suggestion is blasting some fun music, or an episode or two of your favorite podcast, or an audio book. This is not new advice, in fact, I’ve been cleaning to music my entire life because it was the only way my mom could motivate my lazy butt to help out. But it works because instead of being able to overthink how you are going to get XYZ done, your brain is overloaded with a new, shinier alternative than talking you out of mopping the floors. In fact, it doesn’t care what you do because now it’s extremely focused on the sounds coming into your ear holes. Mop away! Meal prep! Wipe those counters! Our brains crave stimulation in the form of thought, but sometimes, just like a crabby toddler, it needs us to put on some entertainment for it and let it chill while we get stuff done.
Let me know in the comments what you use to trick your brains into quieting down.
Now, let’s get shit done.