It’s a beautiful bank holiday Monday morning. The sun is shining and quite appropriately being Easter, it is a morning full of hope.
Sometimes, you just need to get a bit of perspective on things. Let it go. Let yourself go. By that I don’t mean to not take care of yourself, but to chill out, relax. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s so easy to get into a habit of criticising, of having negative self-talk.
You might be in a bad situation right now. I know for me, I am dealing with long-term, deep rooted issues that have shaped the way I am today, in a negative way. It affects how I think of myself, my relationships and my work.
I was privileged to give a talk at University of Hertfordshire last week to some of the creative students as part of a Creative Edge series of events. It was a wonderful opportunity and the kind I relish to be able to share advice I wish I had had when starting out in my career.
One of the key things I was encouraging the students to do is something that we regularly encourage within Creatives Hub and that’s take a step back, get some perspective and work ON your business not just IN your business.
This is explained well via an online training course by Brian Casel called Productize. Brian talks about the difference between performing specific, individual tasks for one client or on one project, as compared with developing systems that will manage that task more efficiently for every future client.
For example, you could be working on creating written content and images for a newsletter. Rather than just working on that one newsletter, working ON the business means that you will work out ways in which your process of putting together a newsletter becomes more efficient. So it doesn’t just help that one client, but every future client as well.
I hope the students took that onboard as it was something that according to a general consensus, they hadn’t heard before.
Work on your life, not just your business
This doesn’t just apply to your career. It’s an important thing in life generally too. If you don’t make time to take a step back, look at your surroundings and assess where you’re going, no one else will do it for you. You are the only one that’s responsible for your life.
I try and do this every week (on a Monday), but it usually ends up being a bit more sporadic. I make extra effort when I know there’s a possibility of a stressful situation coming up to work ON my life, not just IN it.
For example, recently when dealing with the issues I alluded to at the start, I went back and updated my daily routine. This is a step by step list of what I want to do upon waking up.
My alarm goes off at 6am. To be honest, I’m usually awake a fair bit before this, so I actively countdown to my alarm going off!
My current schedule
Here’s the morning routine I use most days.
6.00 AM – Get up, make tea
6.15 AM – Bible study, Prayer, Meditation
6.45 AM – Writing – At least 1 blog post or work on a talk
7.45 AM – Shower, Change
8.15 AM – Breakfast, Reading blogs for social media scheduling
9.00 AM – Go over plan for the day, check finance
9.30 AM – Get on with scheduled work
I don’t always use the full allotted time for each activity. For example, this morning, I had some ideas on my mind so I wrote for over an hour from 6.45am and cut into my shower/change time.
I don’t always do each activity listed. I didn’t do any meditation this morning (and haven’t done for a while), but it’s always a useful reminder when seeing this printed on my wall that it’s an option.
One of the changes I made recently was to make sure I’m writing every day. As you may tell, at Creatives Hub we have seriously neglected the blog. In fact I’m embarrassed to say, this is the first new blog post this year! It might not look like it when you visit the homepage as we regularly produce the podcasts which can look like blogs. Either way, it’s not good enough.
Get into a routine
The benefit of a routine like this –especially when in stressful situations when you’re not thinking straight, is just that. You don’t have to think. This is a good thing as every decision you make –as discussed on a recent Hatch Podcast– expends your mental energy and can leave you feeling exhausted. If you can make the decision beforehand, you’re just following through with minimal mental energy spent leaving far more for your creative activities.
This schedule works for me. You will probably need to tailor it to your life. That’s fine. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. You have to do what works for you.
I find that having this schedule, and every so often revisiting it, is part of my way of working ON my life, not just IN it. It gives me focus and direction and ultimately hope that these little tasks each day are contributing to me being a better person. It doesn’t always seem like it, but I know and can feel it if I haven’t gone through the routine in a while.
You always have hope
If you’re in a situation where you feel you have no hope, think again. You do. Take the time get some fresh perspective and work on yourself not just procrastinating or continuing in old habits.
Even if you have never done this before, or even if you have tried and failed, Easter is a time of hope. You can’t do anything about the past. That’s done. It’s over. But the decisions you make now will affect your future.
Let your future be one of hope.
If you have a different schedule or different ways of getting routine in your life and working ON yourself, I’d love to know in the comments.