I promised a post on mastery tonight, but I probably shouldn't write it. Instead here is my best try at getting out of said promise. (Don't worry I'm still writing one!) George Leonard's master is someone almost serene; focused on the flow of ritual and practice. Tonight, this is not me.
Rather than explain [read: make excuses for] my crankiness, I'd rather divert your attention to a helpful tip for when you're feeling overwhelmed. I first read this technique in the books of David Allen (of GTD fame), but have since seen it elsewhere. This is a great way to clear your mind, so think of this as a "prerequisite" to the Mastery post. You'll be surprised by this exercise if you haven't tried it.
Here it is: Write everything down.
Literally, take a piece of paper, and write everything down that you can think of. Things to do, worries, chores, future project ideas, whatever comes into your mind. When I first did this, I got around 100 things, which I hear is pretty standard. It's amazing how much stuff is just sitting around up there; tasks and issues that are left as question marks. As David Allen teaches, all this "stuff" bogs us down because our mind doesn't know how to deal with it. It sits at the periphery of awareness, causing stress and anxiety. Once you write it down you can make lists, figure out how to take action, or decide its not important, etc. But first, get it OUT of your head.
This exercise is simply but amazingly effective. The first time I did it, I felt a sense of control I hadn't had in months or even years.
I'm off to write everything down.