Show of hands: Who here goes to bed every single night with their minds on overdrive with a million and one thoughts swimming in every single stroke, some of ‘em brilliant and some of ‘em less than stellar? Ideas for your biz, blog topics you’re dying to write about, that lasagna recipe you can’t quite perfect, bills that were due… yesterday, a logo idea for your newest client… the list goes on and on. (ME! ME! ME! *raising hand like an overzealous preschooler*)
We’re seemingly led to believe that 24 hours is simply not enough to get things done so our mind REFUSES to turn off in the fear of forgetting a great idea, missing out on “life-changing” opportunities and that nagging feeling that “we’re not doing enough.”
The result? We sleep less peacefully (if we manage to sleep at all) and wake up stressed, uninspired and restless - not the best combo for a fruitful and productive day.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be this way. What if I told you that a simple five-minute (or even less!) habit can help you regain control of your ideas + thoughts? What if I told you that you can “turn off” for the night and wake up with all your ideas + thoughts intact?
How? By practicing (and because we’re cool, I’ll add a hashtag to it) #DailyDownloading.
The concept behind #DailyDownloading is simple: you take what’s in your head and unload it somewhere else, be it your phone, audio recorder, laptop or the good ‘ol pen and paper (my favorite method!).
Here’s a number of reasons why we NEED to unload our heads every.single.day:
- One of the biggest reasons why we find it hard to turn our thoughts off is the fear of losing a potentially awesome idea. You know how great ideas often drive by your thoughts when you’re about to sleep? We’re afraid of losing it so much that we start actively thinking about it. We start conceptualizing and eventually what happens is we overcompensate at the beginning to the point that we sacrifice sleep and overall balance of our mental health.
- Another thing is that we feel guilty because we think we should be doing something more… productive other than sleeping - blogposts to write, photos to edit, designs to create, Project Life albums to update, etc. Let me tell you something: sleeping and resting IS hella productive and NECESSARY. Not having enough of it leads to unproductive and lethargic days.
- Lastly, in this day and age of instant gratifications, we (wrongfully) believe that if we’re not quick enough - to answer e-mails, to respond to comments, to send things out - we’re going to miss opportunities. Opportunities to connect with your readers, to work with a brand or to be successful.
Let me say it: these fears are totally valid BUT it can get out of hand real quick prompting us to shift gears from being intentional to being reactive. And if you’ve read Sean Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People*, you know how “ineffective” being reactive can be.
#DailyDownloading allows you to take your ideas + thoughts out of your head and safekeep them until you have the time to INTENTIONALLY tackle them and give them the attention that will allow the ideas to GROW and actually HELP YOU make things happen.
Downloading allows you to clear a space in your mind for peaceful sleep, meditation and intentional relaxation. Downloading allows you to focus your mind on what you’re doing now without having to worry about a million other to-do’s. Bottomline: downloading allows you to be intentional about your ideas.
You can breath a sigh of relief now, young Padawan. (Ok, I *just* watched the entire Star Wars franchise so I’m still on a bit of a high…)
Let's get started! How to start#DailyDownloading ::
- Get yourself a notebook dedicated to your downloads. I like having a separate notebook / notepad for this because it makes it easier to recall ideas + thoughts later on. Remember: we want to safekeep ideas, not lose them in a sea of loose paper and scribbled-on Post-its. Also, having a dedicated notebook allows you to leave this notebook beside your bed for easy access ;)
- Before cozying into bed, set a five-minute timer on your phone / alarm clock. Having a timer is CRUCIAL because if left to our own methods, we’ll most likely spend two hours “unloading” our thoughts (actually, we’re already past that, we’re actively engaging with out thoughts by then) and this defeats the whole purpose of downloading. Once that timer goes off, lift your pens up (sounds like an exam, eh?) and let it go.
- And the main event, unleash your brain into your notebook - no rules other than to just write it down. Don’t think about erasures, spelling mistakes or ugly handwriting. The point is to write it down and forget about it, for now at least. Come on, just write, write, write.
- Lastly, sleep like a hibernating bear with the knowledge that your ideas are safely kept and easy to recall tomorrow.
Easy peasy like 1-2-3. This method is perfectly awesome BUT if you want to add an extra level of awesomeness to your #DailyDownloading, I designed a one-page worksheet specifically for folks like you and me:
It is a simple and totally done-for-you worksheet that will add an extra detail of organization and intention into your #DailyDownloading habit.
So that’s it! I hope this five-minute habit will help you regain control of your ideas and allow you to be more intentional in handling them :) It might take a couple of days before you get into the groove and allow yourself to flow through the paper but it is sooooo worth it.
Do me a favor, try it out and let me know below if this was as revolutionary to you as it was to me! And if you have any thoughts on it (“it doesn’t work!”), that would be extremely helpful as well ;)
And and and, if you use the worksheet (yay you!) and upload a photo of it somewhere, let’s hashtag it with #DailyDownloading so I can see it in the wild and in full action.