I’ve been deep in thought since my recent blogs about ‘deep digging’ – finding out more about others, and listening and probing more so that we’re not all about us but more about them.

The tricky part being that others aren’t always as interested in us! This can leave us deplete from listening hard and absorbing information, and sometimes feeling hurt. I guess others aren’t as interested in us as we may have thought eh?

I loved it when a friend of mine was hanging out at home with me, we were deep in great conversation when a flatmate raced in, downloaded a heap onto us, then left as quickly as they arrived. My mate started making a beeping sound…she said, “that’s the sound of the dump truck”…ha ha.

It made me very aware of how we dump on others without giving thought to whether they’re willing or even able to take it.

I had a great boss who used to ask me, “are you in a place to listen right now Jac?” I loved that, it meant I could choose if I could be interrupted – you never know when someone’s working stuff out in their head – they may not look busy or distracted but they might just be! I’ve always remembered that and try to include it in my leadership coaching. Try it out, it’s both respectful and useful!

I was running a workshop once and a girl was saying how some of her friends would share their trauma with her as she was such a good listener…BUT she wasn’t coping with it. She started to learn how to set boundaries by telling them she perhaps wasn’t the best person for them to talk to as she wasn’t in the right headspace herself. Great boundary set right there.

This made me think about where I might overstep others’ boundaries. So I’ve started being much more aware of who I share to and when, checking first that they’re in a space to listen. I’m so blessed to have a girlfriend who’s a counsellor – but I still need to check with her as she’s often had to deal with some very heavy stuff and may be ‘overloaded’.

Another girlfriend came back from holiday with friends but felt like she hadn’t had a holiday at all as they’d downloaded on her so much, and she needs alone time to clear her head.

I get that. I often get told stuff at home and it’s forgotten half an hour later as I often feel like my brain is overloaded with detail ha ha! My family take the piss out of me for it…but I think it’s just that I need quiet time to process, especially at weekends. Luckily, they understand.

Do you sometimes feel the same?

Like your head is so full it can’t take another ounce of information?

Escape with a good book

Get engrossed in a good book; escapism is often useful…as is Netflix lol.

Call a friend
Seek out a friend who’s in a space to hear you.

Keep a journal
Write your thoughts in a journal – just keep writing any thoughts that come into your head no matter how crazy or distorted – once they’re on paper it’s easy to see how many are whirling around your brain, and with them out, you can finally relax ahhhh.

Practise meditation
Find a meditation app you can relate to and try to clear your mind once a day. When I first tried this I felt like a failure; thoughts just kept creeping in. But a wise friend told me different – that the act of meditating is about having the ability to send the thought away and clear your mind. Try anchoring your focus to the air-con sound or your breathing…you might only get a couple of minutes of headspace, but that’s likely more than usual! With practise, you will get better at managing your mind.

Make a to-do list
Keep a list of things to do. In our Personal Efficiency workshops, we teach you to note your things to do in the back of a journal. That way you can keep the front for writing notes from meetings, or your thoughts. Update your list whenever a new task crops up and prioritise it daily. I note the ones I’m going to do today with an ‘A’, then look at them all and order them A1, A2, A3, etc. This helps me no-end in maintaining all the balls I juggle, plus I get the endorphin hit when I get to cross them out! When you turn to the next double-page make sure to carry over anything left uncrossed, so you only ever need to focus on the facing 2 pages (with the knowledge nothing has been forgotten). We cover this and other techniques in our Personal Efficiency Training.