Drop the Pins – And Get More Done

pins-in-handToday, I’m sharing a productivity trick I have been loving! It will help a lot of you get so much more done. (As for the rest of you, well, there are other more or less sophisticated methods to deal with your hangups at the bottom.)

I’ve been using this trick for about a month now to get more done with fewer hangups. I don’t write as a self-help guru. I am a normal, busy mom with kids in sports, clients I love to dazzle, and a ‘to do’ list that will never be blank. Where would the fun be in that anyway?

The background story of how the method worked it’s way into my practice is important for the message so I am sharing it first. However, if you are in a hurry, you may want to skip to the : Why the memory has helped me so much lately now and come back later.

I read a lot about how the mind works. Books I found difficult to put down!:

  • “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” – the part about how negative media affects our daily lives and moods – it’s so true
  • “Social Intelligence” – also a great book by the way – especially when it talks about the affects on the brain due to a lack of face to face interaction vs… you guessed it: social media!

I come across arguably great examples of how to get things done well all the time like: the Olympians who are trained to imagine themselves finishing a race perfectly and winning. And they call this “creative visualization”. Pretty words, but what do they really mean? Somehow imagining yourself doing something and finishing it right significantly improves your changes for a positive (if not optimal) outcome.

That’s great and all, but that creative visualization voodoo thing only helps when you have one track, one finish line, and one goal: to win. Right? How does this help people in a multitasking, dynamic road-block reality? We’d never get anything done imagining every little thing we do just to get it done well!

The trick is to using creative visualization as a “transitional image: see the mental block, let it go, and see your hands free to get back to the work you mean to do”. It is some kind of hang up that’s keeping you from doing what you know you should be doing right now (doubts, fears, burn-out, etc). You can learn how to experience yourself letting go of these limitations and really feel the freedom to go and do what it is you need to do.

The Dream: When I was a child (age 9 or 10 maybe?) I had a very vivid dream I still remember quite well to this day. One significant detail in the dream was that I was carrying a handful of safety pins in my right hand (and yes, I’m right handed) and I didn’t want to put them down.

The significance of safety pins at this point in my life: The ladies in my old church would often have safety pins pinning the back of their skirts to make sure the split was not too long, or pinning up necklines that were decidedly too low. Etc…you get the idea. So, if someone decided that the split in your skirt was indecent, someone would always have a spare safety pin and march you to the ladies room to pin it down. (It was never to be above the knee.) This is no slight to them, it’s simply what they did… and still probably do.

Anyways back to the dream: I didn’t want to put my pins down. No one else had any in their hands. They were walking about and doing things that I wanted to do, but could not because I would lose some or something. I remember wishing that I had a pocket in my skirt so I could just put them in my pocket and go be with my friends. P.S. There was definitely more to this dream, but I just want to talk about the pins part.

What did the pins represent? They could have been many things. Preparation for future events where I might need them for my cloths or future judgements on others with unholy apparel? ;) I really believe in the dream at that time, they represented general burdens. I think this because at the end of a church service in the dream, people were going to pray but I couldn’t because I was embarrassed that I still had the pins.

Why the memory has helped me so much lately. During one of those books it talks about re-imagining something from the past and doing/saying the right thing instead of whatever you did. For some reason, my old dream popped into my head again.

After recalling the same dream every once in a while for 20 years my creative visualization turned out to be simply this :
In my mind’s eye: I finally dropped those pins. As soon as I opened my hand and began to turn it to watch them fall, they began to vanish one by one until they were gone. I look at both hands and feel rapturous because they are now free to do what I need to do.

The feeling was just beautiful. It was that freedom that I felt for one tiny span of time when I realized how my thoughts and memories really do affect me.

I wanted those feelings again later that day in an overwhelmed moment. So, I dropped those pins and again saw my hands free to do what they needed to do, and I did it.

This is a strange trick I completely agree with you, but if I could help someone else feel this way for even just a moment. Then it’s been worth sharing to those other people who will probably tease me about it later, but it’s OK because I’ll drop those pins too and smile with them. :)

It’s changing my life.

Find what works for you. I believe the safety pins worked so quickly for me because the dream was so significant for so long, that finally letting go of those pins opened up a world of possibilities.

The next time you find yourself in some hang-up, or are going through something, or just can’t focus and have know idea why:
Feel sorry for yourself.
Yell at someone!
Cry it out.
Take a breathe and count to ten.
Or… Just drop the pins and when you see your own free hands… You’ll know what to do.

With love,