The top of my desk is long past needing to be organized. I have to make a cake for a meeting at my house tonight. I also have to dust and tidy up. I’m behind on a daily course I’m taking. My blog needs attention, as does a client’s project.

Lurking in the dimmer recesses of my brain are also, the project I’m working on that I want to launch soon, where to move that antique furniture piece I’m trying to sell so we can stop stumbling over it, and that the bush by the front door needs to be pruned.

Like herding cats and toddlers

There are even more tasks on my plate today but I won’t bore you with the details.

The result is that scatter-brained feeling I call The Blur. It’s when everything kind of blurs together in my head. The cake on top of the messy desk. The dusting while I’m studying the course. It can’t work, and it doesn’t.

What to do now or first

The problem is, if I try to get them all done at once, chances are none of them will be completed. I think this condition is pretty common with creative people, but everyone can be overwhelmed sometimes.

Here are five simple steps to clear the brain clutter and get to completion:

  1. Make a list of everything on your mind so that all those swirling thoughts are captured in one place where you can see them.
  2. Cross off everything that does not have to be done today. Can you survive one more day without cleaning off your desktop? Probably. Strike it from the list.
  3. Start another list and re-write only the items that absolutely need to be done today.
  4. Estimate how much time each task will take to complete, start to finish, with no interruptions. Write these numbers beside each task.
  5. Start with the shortest-timed task first, or the most urgent. For example, I definitely have to prepare the cake for the party tonight so that it has time to cool, be iced and decorated, etc. I can’t leave it until later even though the dusting will take less time.

Make it visual

As you complete each task, strike it off the list.

This allows you to see what you have accomplished and it feels good to view your progress. Don’t work on anything else until everything on list has been crossed off.

If you still have time in your day, go back to your original list and go through the same process again. I think you’ll be surprised by how effective this simple system is in un-scattering your busy, blurry brain.

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