The power of thinking about one thing

A while back my head was all over the place.  It’s as if there was a monolithic inverted pyramid perched atop my cranium, jam packed with ideas and thoughts that were trying to filter their way into my head.  Thing is, it reached critical flow, my thoughts were becoming choked.

Ideas began duelling to the death for attention at the small opening into my head whilst new ideas were sloshing out of the top, lost into the ether.

It felt like this was perched on my head

It felt like this was perched on my head

I was flitting between ideas and tasks, spending a couple of minutes on one idea before reaching up, twisting the valve a little and letting a new idea in.  I’d give this new thought a quick once over before the pressure began to build again.

The only thing this leads to is a frantic life, jumping from one thing to the next, doing a half arsed job on the things you do actually look at and not sleeping very well.

Mr Zombie might have had all of the following crashing around his mind, all fighting for attention, leaving little time to actually focus;

  • Writing this post
  • Figuring out WordPress
  • Other post ideas
  • General work thoughts
  • Contracting versus being a permanent staff member
  • My up-coming carpentry course
  • All sorts of wedding admin
  • Was there ever a boy that could swim as fast as a shark
  • Is it time to pay for a physio to have a look at my back
  • House projects (converting the tiny cupboard in our bedroom into a set of stairs leading direct into the attic…then converting the attic into a man zombie cave)
  • The bear attack in The Revenant
  • Do I really care that there is a bear market
  • When I will catch up on some excellent blog posts

In all this swirling chaos cool post ideas are lost, tasks assigned by Mrs Z are forgotten, I lose my keys and shit doesn’t get done as efficiently or as well as it could.  Not to mention that this leaves our headspace dangerously full of shit, and our mind-defences unmanned.  Leaving us terribly exposed to attacks by marketers and advertisers.

We only have so much cognitive power available to us each day.  If your mind is constantly battling a whirlwind of ideas and thoughts it is using some of that limited cognitive ability simply to track things, it’s running too many background tasks.

When I woke up this morning my poor skull was instantly battered with a plethora of bustling nano-ideas.

pick me, pick me” they shouted

[I had just woke up from a dream where I had gone to this Ecuadorian meet up.  I had taken some time to go surfing (with MMM, jlcollinsnh, SLIS & TFS) at the bottom of some cliff when we were attacked by cannibals and had to battle them back with our surfboards.  We won obviously…but WHY?  The mind really is a strange thing.]

Only recently have I found something almighty enough to tame the chaotic cloud of half formed concepts.  Mr Zombie’s Mighty Notebook;

The Mighty NoteBook

The Mighty NoteBook

In a single motion I remove the pen and peel back the elastic, leaving me free to leaf through the pages.  My mind quickly reviews each idea that is battling for attention, rejecting the ones that are no good that would otherwise float about all day taking up valuable cognitive resource.  I calmly jot down any post ideas at the front of The Mighty NoteBook and any other ideas at the back of the book.    With my mind clear I snap The Mighty NoteBook shut and in an equally smooth single motion I close the elastic and replace the pen under it.

The result, a free mind.  I can now pick and choose what to focus on, and with that devote my (admittedly limited) full cognitive resource to it.

The heavy, granite-like, ideas that were once cracking their way into my skull are replaced by a serene calm and the feather-light Mighty NoteBook in my pocket or bag.

You get a surprising amount done if you can focus on just the one task.  And you generally do a better job, something I like to remind Mrs Z about when she is driving and also trying to look at me whilst talking.

I still go to bed just as tired, but happy that things are less frantic.  It seems I don’t do well with more than one thing to think about.  And on top of that we all feel better at the end of a truly productive day.

It turns out I have already been using a NoteBook for my finances, in the form of tracking my NetWorth weekly in a spreadsheet and having a more in depth review each month.

Prior to tracking my NetWorth I had little idea what my finances were actually doing, I bounced into an overdraft every so often, I didn’t save enough and I didn’t invest much.  Despite this, money was on my mind more often than it is now.  I had been thinking about where my money was going more often yet achieving fantastically shitter results than I am now.

The main difference?  20 minutes on a Sunday updating my NetWorth tracker.  20 minutes and I know where all my balances are at and where I have been leaking money.  20 minutes typing into a spreadsheet, in my home, protected from the elements.  Barely a hardship.  The result?  Less time in between thinking about money, and a growing savings balance.  Updating my NetWorth every weekend in The Powerful Spreadsheet resets any previous thoughts about money, I can see exactly where everything is.

“Aahhhh, that’s where we are money wise…and relax” – sighs Mr Zombie’s mind on a Sunday

The Mighty NoteBook seems to work for Mr Zombie because it is tangible.  I tried to-do lists on my phone, I just ignored them.  I tried using calendars, I just delayed appointments.  I tried post-it notes, I just lost them.  It’s taken a little fine tuning but it’s turning into a positive habit.  One that I can run along in the background, freeing up my cognitive powers for other awesome stuff.

Have a good Friday!

The Mighy NoteBook speaks

Mr Z

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