Guest blog from the lovely Natalie Meyer – All In Good Time
Do you resist implementing routines because they are just, well, just so booooring <yawn>? Are systems just not your thing – you are a free spirit, why would you want to box yourself in? If so you are missing a trick.
As a heart centred entrepreneur you are excited by your ideas and driven by how you can help people. Each person you help is individual and so you need the freedom to create individual answers to their problems.
On the one hand you want your life to be exciting, interesting and fulfilling but if your business is teetering along towards being chaotic, overwhelming and stressful it limits your ability to serve the pants off your crowd.
Balance it Out
A good routine or system should balance out:
Freedom v Discipline
Creativity v Efficiency
Responsive v Regulated
We often resist routines and systems as they aren’t much necessarily much fun. More than that though we can be tempted to think that they will box us in and stifle our creativity.
It is easy to imagine our lives becoming rigid, with us marching through like an automaton, if any structure is put in place; that our businesses will become highly efficient but ultimately soul less and unfulfilling.
Instead we like to believe that we can juggle everything ourselves to keep the fluidity that we imagine is necessary to our freedom and flexibility. Yet most of us enjoy lives that are sufficiently complex that the human brain is just not equipped to handle it without either a lot of effort or frequently dropping the ball.
It takes a lot of discipline to keep it all together when that effort could be put to better use.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
A system should be supportive. A routine shouldn’t be restrictive. Together they should take a weight off you not add to your load. How can you create systems that support you (that you maybe even get a little bit excited about)?
Create a Checklist for Regular Tasks
Are there tasks that always seem to take longer then you feel they ought to? A checklist will make them flow more smoothly so that they take less time.
Are there tasks that you don’t enjoy? A checklist will break it down into smaller chunks that don’t seem so bad individually.
Are there processes which are sufficiently complex that you find that you frequently forget one or two elements and have to come back to pick them up later? A checklist will make sure that this doesn’t happen.
Are there tasks that you frequently procrastinate on? A checklist will make it clearer what the next step is so that there are fewer excuses to not get on.
Checklists get the dull stuff out of the way but you can always later in creativity over the top of them. Marrying checklists and creativity together blends the best of both worlds to generate the best work in the least amount of time.
During the course of the week you probably have various tasks that need the same resources or mindset. If you bring these together then you will hit your flow more easily.
It might be admin tasks that require you to be in and out of various files – so rather than pick them off individually create a routine that gets you on a roll and you’ll be done before you know it.
Alternatively setting aside certain days for client work puts you in a more expansive mindset with the focus outside of yourself. When you hit your zone of genius and sustain it then the quality of your work shoots up.
3.Tailored to You
Forcing yourself into someone else’s routine is unlikely to work. By all means draw inspiration from others and test out which ideas might work for you but ultimately you need to craft something for yourself.
Some key elements that will shape the outline structure to support you :
- Are you a morning person or a night owl?
- What fixed commitments do you have that absolutely can’t be moved? eg school run
- What commitments do you have out of habit that could be moved?
- What energy patterns do you have during the day? When are you at your highest energy level? When do you get dips?
Answers to the above questions will give you an outline shape to create a tailored structure your days and weeks. You can then see what gaps you have and what they might be best suited to.
Big chunks of time when you are at your highest energy… keep these set aside for your big, deep work, tasks.
Smaller chunks of time or when your energy dips can be kept for life’s ‘admin’ that doesn’t need your full brain power to get it done.
Routines can be comforting but variety sets us free.
A routine can get all the tedious stuff out of the way, all the stuff that doesn’t really require active input from your brain.
You can then reserve your energy for the juicy stuff: the activities that light you up, the activities that connect you to friends and family, the activities that serve the pants off your crowd.
This fab blog was brought to you by Natalie Meyer, CEO of All In Good Time. Natalie helps entrepreneurs to get the very best of their time, to stop procrastinating, make decisions and generally get stuff done! – You can find her here >>click<<