Do you find looming deadlines stressful to the point of stopping you in your tracks? It can be a nightmarish feeling when the clock is ticking, your panic is mounting, and you feel like you’re losing ground with each passing moment. Sound familiar? The harder you try, the more your mind goes blank. Ideas and inspiration dry up.
Finding time to play your way out of stress and paralyzing procrastination is an enjoyable and empowering way to break through logjams and get back into the flow of things. Read on to learn one unbeatable breakthrough tip that you probably haven’t thought of – and that I think you’ll enjoy!
Quite often things like brainstorming and mind mapping can open up options when you’re stuck in overwhelm. But high stress sometimes invites self-criticism and self-consciousness onto the scene when you least need them. Then you give yourself undermining messages like:
- “Nobody’s going to like that!”
- “This just has to be perfect!”
- “You’re running out of time!”
- “Everyone’s going to see how ____ you are!”
As the tension mounts, you try things that have worked before, like taking a quick walk to step away and clear your head. But when you sit back down and start working again, you find that those critical voices are still there and still have lots to say.
When faced with a situation like this, try this one tip – it is a real life-saver, believe me! You can try it at other times, too, because aside from breaking up logjams and relieving stress, it’s a wonderful tool for stimulating your creativity.
Oh, and it’s an entirely counter-intuitive tip – and that’s its beauty.
Ready for the game? It’s called “Turn Your Inner Critic on Its Head!”
The next time you are stuck, make it your goal to generate the very worst version of whatever you are working on that you are capable of creating.
If you are writing a sales page, or a blog post, or copy for a press release, your goal is to shock and disappoint. Throw yourself into your task with the mindset that you are going to stretch the limits of boring, blasphemous, and bizarre. Use everything that you might have censored, and exaggerate it to the hilt. In other words, have fun with it.
What this does, as you may have guessed, is not only silence but absolutely flummox your inner critic. Actually, you put yourself in control of this voice by choosing to use it as a contributor to your project (rather than being a negative nay-sayer calling from the sidelines).
Harnessing the voice of your inner critic to overcome stress and stasis, ask yourself:
- What does your inner critic think is a really terrible headline for your next E-zine article?
- What would guarantee that your report would create shrieks of outrage?
- What opening paragraph is least likely to capture your readers’ interest?
Go ahead and begin writing from this vantage point. Better than trying to drown out or silence your critical voice, you have neutralized its negativity and stripped it of its power. It provides comic relief and nothing more.
As you relax, you will find that your ideas begin to flow – possibly in new and unanticipated directions – and you can move ahead on your project with empowered energy. And I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the new inspirations that come about as a result of this counter-intuitive time management tip!© Copyright 2012 Paula Eder, Ph.D.