Wednesday, 13 January 2016

How to Calm a Busy Mind

January certainly started with a bang for me.  We are two weeks in (how fast has that gone) and I have already hit the number one spot on Amazon with my non-fiction title, How I Changed My Life in a Year  Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will understand when I say ‘thought’s become things’.  Oh yes, I’m thinking exclusively about successful book sales and hopefully bringing more of it to me!

Next week is the release date for the second book in my young adult fantasy trilogy so I’ve been working hard on publicity and dealing with the fiction side of my writing business.  I am also hosting a vision board workshop, attending a meet the author event and a blogger/author meet up, doing a radio interview (it’s true! I’ll share the link on my blog when it’s over), and I’m an exhibitor and speaker at the It’s Your Life West Midlandsth January. 

Phew, busy month.  When I found this meme on Facebook it made me laugh out loud because I was pulling that exact face when I saw it.

Maybe you feel the same when you are busy? With so much going on it does feel like you have a million tabs open in your brain.  I tend to panic if my computer has more than three pages open at any given time.  If you are starting to feel anxious about all the half-finished projects or the ever increasing to-do list then panic not – I am here to share my plan of action.

When my bottom lip began to wobble as I contemplated all the events, deadlines and tasks coming up over the next couple of weeks, I decided to take stock, stop and calm myself down. Panic isn’t conducive to a productive month. 

The first thing I did was to bring everything to my office.  My diary was in the kitchen, the calendar on my office wall, notepad in the lounge and the book I needed to review was on my bedside table upstairs.  Instead of leaving them scattered around the house I brought them together in one place so I could see, at a glance, what needed to be done.

Then, I wrote a to-do list.  Writing my tasks in time order helps me to work out the priority, for example; I am speaking at two events, one on the 21st and the second on the 24th, I need a slightly different speech for both but the 21st event needs to be written first.

Once I had everything written down and my diary and calendar were coordinated I could see the gaps in my time where the niggling worries could be slotted.  For example; on Tuesday I picked up a new kitten.  It was a good forty minute drive to collect her so I filled my car up with petrol on the way, I had already booked my Tesco shop to arrive at 8am before I set off, and I scheduled a Skype call for after the kids got home from school so kitty had company as I worked.  Four to-do list jobs are done in one go. 

Writing down your worries alongside your job list helps you to clear down those brain tabs. 

Normally my to-do list would say:

  • Collect kitten
  • Skype call

I would then worry about how I was going to fill the fridge or get petrol before my son’s football training session.  Jotting down your anxieties can be very helpful – and therapeutic.  I use my journal daily, and this is where I write my bigger worries and life stuff.  Buying petrol isn’t considered a big life worry (unless you’re a truck driver!) but it can still make you feel apprehensive if you are teetering on empty.  It plays on your mind and amplifies your unease.

The next time you feel like your brain has too many tabs open try to follow the tips I have used to calm my hectic month.  They work.

Quick Fix:

  • Gather all task related ‘stuff’ such as bills, notes, letters, etc. Take them to one place.
  • Write yourself a list of everything you need to do – put it in order so you know what to clear first.
  • Jot down anything you are worried about – clear it out of your mind by writing it down.
  • Start at the beginning and methodically work through your list.

Do it again next month!  I would love to hear how you calm a busy mind when your brain is overloaded.  Share it with us in the comments below.


  1. I go for a walk. Listen to classical music. Stroke Kitteny...count my blessings and sleep!

    1. Ooh, I can add 'stroke kitty' to my list now - we have acquired a five month old kitten called Luna. It's amazing how calming having a pet can be. :-)