Creative visionary people often come to me when they struggle to prioritize their time effectively to reach their business goals. Their dilemma is that trying to structure their time feels like cutting off the flow that fuels their passion.
What would it be like to have a way of staying on focus that actually supported your creative flow rather than stifling it?
One key ingredient to achieve this skill is an awareness of blocks of time.
First, reflect on your daily rhythm. Are you a morning person who jumps out of bed full of energy? Or are you a night person who hits your stride later in the day?
Think about the time of day when your creative flow is the strongest and you accomplish the most. In contrast, think of the time of day when your energy drags, when anything but routine work is a struggle.
From this reflection, identify your peak time and your “routine task” time.
Next, identify the key activities you want to do that bring out the best in you: your gifts, your strengths, and your passion. For example, developing a new product or writing your next presentation.
Now it’s a simple matter of matching up these creative activities to your peak times and delegating the routine operations tasks to the remaining times.
Writing is something that I love to do, but I found myself resisting the discipline of sitting down to write. When I got curious about this discrepancy, I saw that I had been treating my writing time as a reward at the end of the day after serving every other aspect of my business.
But the problem is that I’m a morning person, and in the evening my capacity to develop new material is much lower. And, when I treat myself to my creative work first, I actually am much more energized and productive the rest of the day!
Most of the tasks and activities that fill your day can be done equally well at any time of day. However, the most fulfilling creative work that you do needs to be supported with your peak energy of the day. See what happens when you arrange your schedule this way!
It’s also important to notice the difference between structure that feels like a prison and structure that supports your creative flow. Traditional structure is arbitrarily imposed, based on some external standard. Essential structure is created by noticing the rhythms of your own nature, so that it can support and enhance the resources within you. Essential structure serves as the perfect vehicle to launch your wisdom and creative expression.
Once you match up the most inspiring aspect of your work with your peak time of day, it is also crucial to block out all interruptions during that time. Let your messages accumulate online and in voice mail. The world can wait for two hours!
If you find yourself thinking of other projects, jot down a few notes in a separate place so that you can let it go and return to the work at hand. If another creative project keeps trying to assert itself, then capture your closing thoughts on the first project and switch your attention.
The most important principle here is to separate out creative development time from routine operations, according to your own natural rhythm.
What is your peak time during the day, and what creative work is best suited to that time? Enjoy your exploration!