One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard over and over from business owners is to have set hours for yourself and shut everything off after a certain time. While this may be great advice for some, it doesn’t always work for me.
I believe more in listening to what your body and brain are telling you and following your own personal work flow. Instead of pushing myself to do the same tasks at the same time every day or follow my planned out to-do list to the T, I listen to what my body is telling me I should do.
I find that by following my own personal flow and doing something I’m drawn to at that moment, I’m able to be more productive, creative, and focused. Also, if I’m working on something I WANT to do, the work usually turns out 10x better than if I’m forcing myself to get it done.
Example: The other night, I was wrapping up with students and as everyone was going home when I got the urge to put down one of the tracks for our upcoming session. I was drawn to it and loved doing it! An hour later, I had one of my songs done and loved the way it turned out, even though it was past normal working hours. I worked on a project that drew me in and it was so much easier to get done that way.
This method also means listening to my body when it wants to do nothing. Taking a break is not just ok, but necessary. If you need permission to sit on your behind and turn on Grey’s Anatomy, take a long bath, go for a walk, or curl up and take a cat nap, I’m giving it to you now!! DO IT! And don’t give yourself one ounce of guilt.
I’ll be the first to admit, there are a couple flaws in my method and a couple drawbacks, but I’ve never felt better, been happier, or produced better work than the days where I am 100% honest with myself and followed what I am inspired to do.
Drawbacks and how to handle them:
- Bills have to be paid and calls have to be made – Save or schedule these (or other unpleasant tasks) for when you usually feel best in your day and are free of other distractions. That way you can accomplish them quickly without getting too frustrated or exhausted.
- Deadlines – We all have them in one sense or another. If you have control over when deadlines are, be realistic with yourself and give yourself plenty of time to accomplish what you need with some extra time thrown in there for those days when projects are a little harder. If you don’t have control, find your flow and run with it. If something isn’t working out, switch tasks and come back to it.
- Required or scheduled tasks – We all have parts of our day or tasks that we are required to do. Try to keep a positive attitude, get plenty of sleep, surround yourself with positive people and energy, and make it yours. If you don’t like cooking every night, try cooking all your meals one day a week. Paper work got you down? Listen to your favorite tunes. Take a break and walk. Grab your favorite beverage. Sit in your favorite spot. Use fun colored pens. Etc.
The moral of the story is, do what works for YOU!! Take the time to figure out what your work flow and follow that. You do you!