We all have business tasks that we try to avoid.
Do you ever get that slightly crushing sensation when you have to turn your attention to tech tasks?
Or do you run for the hills at the mere mention of copywriting?
In our day to day work, most of us reside predominantly in one side or other of our brains. We are either focused on linear, sequential, logical tasks or we are working on creative, intuitive, multidimensional activities. And shifting from one to the other is incredibly disruptive and challenging. Unfortunately, shift we must because our businesses need attention from both sides of our brains.
Recently, I had some client work that got super techy. I was immersed in some very detailed, logical and sequential tasks. The problem is, I wanted to be writing. Every time I got a moment to focus on the writing, I couldn’t get into the zone. I simply couldn’t make the shift from one side of my brain to the other.
I really enjoy writing and creative tasks – when my creative head is on, I keep on trucking until I run out of steam. I also really enjoy detailed, technical work and can lose myself down many an inviting and geeky rabbit hole. That wonderful mix of art and science is why I love the breadth of marketing activities. Just not all at the same time.
Most of my clients work in a creative, energetic and intuitive space for most of their day. They find tech, research and planning a real challenge. Not because they can’t do it because they try to do it when they are in the wrong zone. I work with them to align their working to their own energy patterns and divide up their time in a way that works for them. The result is that they can run their business effectively without that dreaded and overwhelming sense of frustration.
Once upon a time, I used to set aside a 3 or 4 hour block of time to research, write and upload my blog to my website, set up my email newsletter etc etc. It never worked for me. I’d do the research and then get sidetracked. I’d write and then get sidetracked or I would plough on putting it up on my website because the clock was ticking. The result was a suffocating sense of frustration. I don’t do it that way anymore. I split out the research, the writing and the technical uploading and give myself a good break between each phase.
If you are a yoga instructor, it’s no good trying to set up an autoresponder sequence straight after a class. If you are an energy healer, trying to do your tax return after an intense session isn’t a recipe for success. If you are an artist fresh out of a burst of inspired creation, turning your attention to Google Analytics is going to bring your energy crashing through the floor with an ear splitting bang.
The key to coping with the many different types of tasks you have to do when you are running your own business is splitting up your time according to your own rhythm and energy.
Work with your natural patterns of brain activity to focus on tasks that tap into your need for creativity or your need for logic at the right time and in the right way.
If you are feeling that frustration or avoiding tasks because they are hanging over you like the Sword of Damocles, try these tips for getting the balance back.
Each and every business activity has multiple dimensions. Split each activity up into creative and logical tasks. Take a piece of paper and note them down in different columns. Or set up a Trello board and put them on separate cards. Schedule time for tasks separately, so that you are working in one side of your brain only at any one time.
Give yourself a specific amount of time to do each task and focus on this and only this for that time.
If you are spending most of your time in a creative space:
When are you most creative? Maybe you have bursts of creative time throughout the day, maybe you are a morning creative. Keep a note of when these bursts strike and when your creativity tends to run itself out. Make time for your inspired work smack bang in the middle of your zone. When your creativity runs out, schedule a break and don’t be tempted to keep plugging away.
After your break, set yourself a 30 minute timer to work on some techy, logical tasks and don’t exceed it. Take another break and step away from it. Be incredibly disciplined with yourself and come back to it in your next non-creative slot. You may find you get one, two, three or more of these slots in a day. Remind yourself that you are working in the most effective way for you.
If you are spending most of your time in a logical space:
You probably avoid creative tasks like the plague. The inspiration never seems to strike – at least not when you are sitting down to work, the middle of the night is a whole different matter.
What you need to be doing is working with your brain and the good news is, you get to walk the dog on work time. Because the best way to tap into your creative brain when you are in a logical mode is to step away from your work and get moving.
The very act of sitting down to work can stifle your creativity. You feel pressured and frustrated because it needs doing right now and it just isn’t happening. So you avoid it even more and the stress builds up. That’s not a great way to feel for anyone.
The creative juices are going to flow when you are active and away from your work. Back when I was doing my A levels, my ever patient horse was very well versed on the ins and outs of Waiting for Godot. Once he was tucked up for the night, I would go and write the required essay. Nowadays I use a wrist voice recorder on the school run or walking the dog to capture my thoughts and ideas. You can do the same with your phone and then transcribe your ideas. All you need to do then is edit and you can do that in when you are in logical mode.
We are all individuals and we need to work to our strengths and our unique energy patterns. Working with our energy in this way reduces and removes the frustration and the negative self-talk that plagues too many entrepreneurs. You are more than capable of all tasks you need to master and your brain will work with you, if you work with it.