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Tidy your Room! (Dealing with Downtime)

A casting director friend of mine posted some great advice today & it got the gears turning in my brain.

"August is notoriously a dead month for auditions and castings, as many people are on holiday or at Edinburgh. Instead of fretting and moaning that nothing’s happening, if it’s quiet for you, use this month to rethink and formulate your goals and plans for the rest of the year, so you can start taking action with renewed enthusiasm in September, when things will begin to get busy again."

Unexpected down time can be one of the positive things about being self employed too. People working regular 9 to 5 jobs don't always have this luxury. But whatever career you're in & whatever you aspire to do there's always something you can be doing to improve your prospects. You just don't always know how to get started.

We're living in a world of instant gratification, information overload & ubiquitous technology. There are so many things to distract us, especially if you're on social media. We constantly refresh our emails or feeds because FOMO (fear of missing out) is a genuine phenomenon. Is it any wonder many of us struggle to start, let alone complete, a task. So how do we get rid of the mental clutter & be more productive?

I'm a big fan of Psychologist Jordan Peterson's advice of "tidying your room", the premise being that making small changes to your immediate environment helps you get the momentum you need to make the bigger ones. Sounds trivial but look how popular Marie Kondo's decluttering show is on Netflix! There's something in this and I'll try to explain why. I think Peterson's approach borrows from Gestalt Psychology, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We often have a conceptual idea of how we want to feel or what we want to achieve but the concept can be TOO abstract & overwhelming that you've got no idea how to start making it happen.

Start by tidying your room.

Our immediate environment is to some extent an externalisation of our mind. When you look at a messy room you probably think "I should tidy it" but then you start coming up with excuses not to. Whenever you do this you are going against what you know to be the right thing to do & integrity matters. I believe this inadvertently strengthens the neural pathways for "I don't give a damn" and before you know it you've applied that philosophy to other areas of your life too.

Our brains like order & they like to categorise. All those disparate instances of "not giving a damn", be it about your immediate surroundings, your health, finances, relationships or career, build to form a "gestalt" that will lead you to feel dissatisfaction and dis-ease. If left to multiply it will seem intractable.

If you suffer from lethargy, brain fog or over-procrastination (I know I do) it is even more important that you TIDY YOUR ROOM.

If you feel you should be doing something but not sure where to start or how to get going? Start by TIDYING YOUR ROOM.

If the space you are living & operating in isn't even worth the effort then how can we expect ourselves to make the really big changes?

DISCLAIMER I'm not saying throw out all your stuff or live in a clinical show home. "Tidy" will be a relative term, metaphorical even, but we all know when things have started to build up or are keeping us up at night.

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