How I deal with Creative Overwhelm | Elizabeth Henson Photos

How I deal with Creative Overwhelm

How I deal with Creative Overwhelm

There is so much snow outside this morning!  I’m a little worried that it is way more ice than snow, and Gracie’s hopes and dreams of building a snowman are not going to pan out just right.


As many of you know I am very much a creative dreamer…. combined with part overachiever.  I love describing myself this way because and overachiever gets ‘everything’ done and goes above and beyond…. but then the creative dreamer has all the big ideas and get nothing done.  I’m literally BOTH if you can possibly imagine that.

Here is an example of the way my brain pings with creative ideas… this would be very much an example of creative overwhelm!


“OMG I should do a workshop!…

Oh I used to be an art teacher, I should sell paintings…. Or teach people how to paint?  yessssssss

oooo or even an online painting class!…

I should totally host a small group painting class… oh but one especially for small business owners!  

Oooo yes and Etsy shop…  that would be great!!

I should journal about this…. or read a book…  “

Oh shit!  I did it again, focus Liz… back to emails!!!!

Funny, but seriously that is the reality of my creative thoughts on a day-to-day basis.  Except it’s always a different or new idea, all the ways I can do fun things and make money.

Letting my brain go wild is fun when I’m on a walk, in the shower, or I dunno….. on vacation haha.   But on a day-to-day basis when I’m actually trying to execute plans and business life it can be VERY overwhelming.  It actually creates a false impression that my to-do list is growing when really I’m just getting stuck dreaming.  Then the anxiety and urge to rush kicks in so that I can do MORE MORE MORE, and then it actually turns into shut down….  Or I become a “sitting duck” as I like to call it.

So as the years have gone on I have picked up a few techniques that help me combat this crazy overwhelm and that is exactly what I wanted to share with you today!

So there are actually a few things you can do to PREVENT overwhelm of the creative brain… so I will start with those:

*I plan my weeks:  Sunday or Monday morning I use my Weekly Kickstart (above) and I really write out EXACTLY what I have to get done that week.  I leave white space, so that I can look down at it and know that I have time and space later to dream.  But I also have a clear picture of what MUST get done!  When I feel myself getting distracted I look down at that list.  Prevention is key sometimes haha.

*Prioritizing my projects:  What will bring in the most revenue for my family, stay true to my core values, and allow me do the things I really want to do.


When creative overwhelm creeps in while I’m trying to stay focused here are some things I do:

Re-directing:  I must realize that it is happening, and change my focus quick… before it is too late LOL.  Sometimes this is when it’s really helpful for me to lean on a biz BFF and get the crazy idea out real quick and let her bring me back down to earth.  Phew! 

Or sometimes taking a walk, making a list, or cleaning something in the house will just refresh me and release the “i got something done” endorphins enough to get back on track.

Focus on the money:  Just like above, staying focused on my projects is key.  As much as I would LOVE to spend 20 hours on a painting and sell it….  I don’t have the market or audience to make a profit that way, nor to I have the 20 hours available.  Things like this have to be put on the shelf for a different stage of life, and that’s ok!


What will best serve me in the long run: What should I be doing RIGHT NOW that will best serve my family and I five years from now?  Probably not any of those chasing squirrel type thoughts I had a few minutes ago.


What is going to make the world a better place?  I know that sounds a little far-fetched…. but I have to stay aligned with my core values. My biggest goal is to make a difference, I don’t always know what that is or what that looks like, but I always ask myself this if the ideas are really circling.   

Journaling and list making:  When an idea comes in that really might have some value then I write it down or journal about it.  I have a dedicated sticky note area for crazy ideas I just need to write down.  MOST of them go in the trash months later… but it allows me to have that feeling of “keeping” it for later.  Which helps me get back to work.


And to end…  I give myself a LOT of daily pep talks.  Kinda like when I used to play sports.   They go something like this:

“You got this, get your shit together

Stay focused

I need to run this by Angie

What would Sharon do?  (she took the funny pictures at the top btw)

Failure is part of it… wait actually we don’t fail we learn.

What will I do differently next time??

Shit I need to hire some people!”


haha!  I hope you enjoyed this little peek into the daily life of a creative dreamer!