There are some days where we’ve got so much to do we become anxious that we’re never going to get through.
Then there are other days where we just can’t get motivated to do anything.
How we think about these moments is crucial and will make the difference as to whether we succumb to old habits of procrastination and overwhelm or claim our productivity.
When there’s too much to do
The tendency is to run at the list.
Coffee … stat.
Task 1, Task 2, Task 3
Coffee … stat.
Task 4, Task 5, Task 6.
When there’s too little to do
Catch up on emails.
Facebook. Twitter. U Tube.
Thinking about that one thing we need to do. Thinking how you’re not sure how to handle it, or maybe you need more information or perhaps you just need to check out what someone else’s doing in that area.
Thinking you’re not achieving anything and then feeling that thinking and starting to feel tired, low energy.
The one surprising thing I’ve learned
It feels completely counterintuitive to me. As a very well-trained corporate employee I was used to starting my day early, working solidly, pushing extremely hard and then after my allotted hours going home to kick back and relax.
So when people started to say to me that I got to set my day up how I wanted it, I felt a resistance from my old habits. I mean surely work is 9 hours straight, isn’t it?
What I noticed was that presenteeism doesn’t work when you’re self employed and 9 hours straight didn’t work for my energy. 9 hours running a coaching business each day when I had no real clue what I was supposed to be doing meant that I would spend a lot of my time chasing my tail, in fear and not even realising it. I’d lose hours trawling the internet, re-writing copy, thinking up new e-books and products and I wouldn’t complete these things. I’d strategise without delivering and as you can imagine it wasn’t effective!
As my business began to evolve I started to see links between my productivity and effectiveness and creativity and intuition. I had always been told it was a “good” thing to do to create certain mindful habits like yoga and meditation and I’d tried lots of forms of these but nothing really resonated. When I started doing my shamanic practitioner training things started to click into place. I started slowing down and noticing everything around me and my creativity and inner wisdom sky rocketed and with it I began to feel much more productive.
The surprising thing is that getting out in nature every day gives me 100 times more ideas than sitting in front of my computer or in my work office. I will go on a walk and invariably I see things, like the picture in this blog. Someone had drawn faces on recently felled trees and it made me smile. I started to think about how even though the tree had fallen in recent storms and cut up into logs, it still had a use. On the stumps there was moss growing and it had inspired someone to create and get playful and that had had an impact on me (it made me smile). That got me thinking about how we have to let go and sometimes let projects die before we can create some new life.
The next time you struggle to get creative, try this…
- Shut everything down (particularly when you resist it) and give yourself 3o minutes to go out in nature. It doesn’t have to be somewhere beautiful or spectacular, just make sure it’s outside in nature.
- As you walk, really feel the ground beneath your feet and take some really deep breaths. Walk at your own pace.
- Look up, look down and look all around you.
- Notice everything with no agenda.
- Take photos of all the things that stand out for you and as you take the shot, listen to the voice inside you that directed you to that particular shot. This is your inner wise person. The one who when it’s quiet enough can be heard.
- At the end of the walk consider the creative journey you just took and then come home and give yourself 90 minutes to work on that issue again.
The bottom line?
Slowing down is what helps us go pro. If we’re trying to be creative from a tightly wound space, we’re going to put that energy into our work.
Being out in nature isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
When we’re connected to nature, we create space to really notice and see what’s alive all around us. It sparks our creativity and that’s what is essential for going pro. Sure, you then need to apply it and do the work but without inspiration work feels like pure perspiration.