The first quarter of the year has come to an end, and I find myself reflecting on the past few months wondering if I spent my time wisely. I celebrated a birthday, booked several singing engagements, finished writing a children’s book, completed multiple trips, and up until a couple of weeks ago, I was recording new music, etc. However, many things, like the gigs I booked and going to the studio, came to a halt. My husband is working from home, and our children are participating in distance-learning. In the midst of it all, I am feeling a little unproductive. Some of you may be wondering why. With all the things that I listed and the many others that I didn’t, how could I think that I am unproductive?
Although I was in the studio recording new music, I don’t have a finished product and I don’t know when I will get the chance to get back in the studio. I had booked several singing engagements, but like many other artists, I will not be leaving my house for a while. I finished writing the children’s book manuscript, but I still don’t have an illustrator and have not published the book. I don’t know about you, but I despise unfinished projects. It feels like clutter. Anyone who knows me, knows that I start tripping when I’m surrounded by clutter. All of these unfinished projects have me tripping, big time. Insert SCREAM! Alright, deep breath.
It seems like a simple enough solution, right? Clear the stupid clutter. When my desk has piles of paper on it, I just clean my desk. When the laundry is piled a little high, I just wash the clothes and put them away. When the dishes are dirty… you get it. However, mental clutter seems to take a little bit more effort to clear. There are a few things that I do to get rid of all the clutter in the corners of my mind, but I’ll share three.
- Get rid of distractions.
One of the first things that I do to declutter is get rid of distractions. That might include going on vacation or taking a spa day (I’m going to wait to do any of these). However, the simplest thing that I can do is turn off my devices: television, computer, phone, even my music, and just breathe. This simple act helps me to focus on and cultivate the most important things to me, like my faith, family and business. There are so many things going on in the world today, that it is good to take a break from the noise and renew my mind.
- Be grateful.
One way that I renew my mind is by thanking God for a sound mind and body, among other things. Staying in a state of gratefulness is easier said than done. Everywhere you turn, there are opportunities to be discontent. I mean, HGTV is one of my favorite channels, but I always wonder what I can add to my house, dream about moving, or think about investing in real estate (which is a great thing to do, but a conversation for another day) after watching a marathon of home renovation shows. In addition, I love to travel, and although I have traveled quite a bit, I always want to go on another trip after seeing how much fun my friends are having in their travels, especially if they have traveled to a destination I have yet to explore. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of things to be grateful for, but I have to make sure I don’t get caught up in a comparison trap.
- Give yourself enough grace to progress a little at a time.
Most of my first quarter goals are things that I have been working on for a while, so I want them to be finished. I am a planner. I like things to be done in a certain way, by a certain deadline, but life does not always work that way. As a matter of fact, I learned that lesson when I got married and had children. My husband tends to be a little more liberal with time, and my kids have a schedule of their own. In order to keep my sanity and keep the peace, I learned that consistent small steps lead to the desired outcome, eventually. Now I start with an end in mind but know to be consistent and flexible. Meaning, don’t give up when things don’t go exactly as planned, and keep working towards my goal.
As I reflect on the past few months, I know there are some habits that I need to change. One, I need to turn off my devices a little more often. I’ve been keeping the Hallmark Channel in the background. Two, I am going to keep a gratefulness journal. I used to journal quite a bit, but I have not consistently journaled in a while. Three, I am going to keep the vision before me and complete the work I began. I have the vision in notebooks. Notice, I said notebooks, plural. I realize that I need to post my goals up in a place where I can readily see them. Yes, I have a vision board, but that has everything on it. I need a more focused board. I’ll see what I come up with. Oh, since my gigs for March, April and May have been cancelled, I’ll be performing from home. I’ll see you guys on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Can any of you relate to any of this? What are some of the ways you deal with feeling anxious? Right now, I’m meditating on Philippians 4:6 and Habakkuk 2:2,3.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God.”
Habakkuk 2:2,3 says, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come. It will not tarry.