With a flick of the hair she murmured “but I’m creative darling!” and flounced off into the sunset.
Tee hee hee ~ I work with stacks of creative people (I too am incredibly right brain dominant when it comes to my thought paths and the ways I work) and I know that at times there’s an immediate resistance to creating structure, workflows, any logical or tech kinda tasks.
It makes our brains hurt, right?! BUT, is creativity really a curse when you’re looking at getting your shit together in your business? I pondered this one as I was asked the question “how do you create structure when you’re a creative person?”
Right, let’s get started with this bad boy.
Embrace Your Super Power!
I honestly believe that we can all function in both the logical sphere of our brains and the creative sphere. It’s not that we are either or. YUP, there might be a place where we are most comfortable BUT that doesn’t mean you’re either full of lists or full of chaos.
Being creative is absolutely a superpower. It allows you to see things in a more colourful, exciting and wholesome way. You might be viewing it right now as being a bit flighty, disorganised or chaotic.
I know that creative people either try to desperately keep hold of structure, processes and admin to try to ground themselves into the “regular” and some feel that they aren’t even able to start to have any structure whatsoever. I know that one of the things that I see the most is the resistance to swapping into the unknown part of the brain and avoiding taking a right brain approach to left brain activities.
The first question is always ~ what’s my version of that – it might be that you’re not good at creating lists, prioritising activities or looking at systems. BUT, you might love to draw a visual representation of that or create steps that look like a staircase or draw out a spider diagram etc. How can I use my right brain to support these left brain activities. People also try to swap between the sides of their brain too rapidly and regularly.
Switching from right to left brain activities and back again without a break leaves you feeling a little out of control and a big bit frazzled. I adopt an approach whereby if I’m moving from creative activities to those activities that need more of my left brain I make sure that I have a gap between the two.
What Does Structure Mean?
We do need to have a level of structure in order to build our businesses efficiently and effectively.
That DOESN’T mean that you need to micro manage yourself into structure and routine otherwise your creativity is going to take a hike and you’re going to get bored and perhaps rebel into being less productive by the minute. When I first started out in business I did try to structure my weeks into the tasks that I did on a day to day basis. For example ~ Monday was about Social Media posts, Tuesday ~ blog & article writing, Wednesday ~ recording, Thursday ~ general admin and accounting, Friday ~ learning and development.
I worked out that this didn’t match my creative brain.
What happens if I can’t write for toffee on a Tuesday? What happens if I don’t feel in the mood to chat and record video on a Wednesday? What if? It felt restrictive and unnecessary.
So, whilst having a working format for my week I needed fluidity and flexibility in order to work with my super powers rather than try to grind out my work.
Yup, it might feel a bit more chaotic at times than a very orderly daily/weekly or monthly schedule that’s set in stone BUT it allows me to be more creative.
How Does That Look/Work
Flexibility is one of the things that so many entrepreneurs crave when they set up their own business and then ironically they try to include a mass of rigidity into their schedule.
- I focused on an “active to do list” which means that I am fully aware and have written down the tasks that need to be done in my business. I take the time to have regular brain downloads so that I can store and keep the projects and things that I need/want to be working on. If I try to keep all this stuff inside my head I am fully aware that that leads to of a lack of clarity of thought and ultimately robs me of my creativity. The brain download is essential. As a creative DON’T try to carry all the tasks in your head.
- Let go of rigidity ~ it doesn’t suit you and it doesn’t fit. Work out what you need to do each day/week/month and have those as your active to do list.
- Don’t be tempted to bulk out your diary. It’s important that you have SPACE in your diary that you don’t fill with obligations (1-2-1 work, done for you work, appts etc). The quest to fill your time can be counter productive and mean that you don’t have the ability to progress your own business (I’ve written a little article about whether your client work is stunting your growth which you can read >>by clicking here<<)
- Accept that there’ll be curve balls and approach these times with stacks of self kindness. There’ll be times when you simply CAN’T crack on, things will come up, you’ll have days that aren’t so productive, you’ll have people who need your presence, you’ll have times when you’re unwell and that’s ok. Make sure you don’t beat yourself up during these times. Have a bit of a “man down” plan so that you don’t feel that everything’s going gonna to shit on the express train.
- Plan your working time for the week. You can look at individual days and weeks (or even months) and block out your “cave time.” Cave time is the time you’re going to work on the active to do list. You will work based on what you & your creativity are in the mood to do. Don’t try to force writing if you’re not in the mood to write, perhaps instead you’re in a chatty mood and recording videos is a good idea, perhaps you need to just cave out and do some mindless tasks. Be honest with yourself though. Don’t use it as an excuse to say that you’re not in the mood to do something over and over again. I am massively accountable to myself to make sure I’m not simply avoiding tasks.
- Have non-negogitables. Now this is the element that’s a little more strict. This is stuff like TIME OFF ✔️ it’s important that you don’t just keep push, push, pushing all the time. Time off needs to be fiercely protected (otherwise you’re no good to anyone). L&D (learning & development) TIME ✔️ I’m precious about keeping time set aside to perhaps watch videos or read articles/books or dive into courses that allow me to continue my professional development. AND the CAVE TIME needs to be non-negogitable too otherwise you’ll never get anything done.
- Set yourself some targets/goals. Think carrot not stick. If you have project work to be getting your teeth into then it’s not a matter of looking at the project in it’s entirety. That may well be so overwhelming that you start NOTHING. Instead break it down into manageable tasks on your active to do list but have a vision in mind as to the time it will take to complete the project. Nothing is as hard or as huge as it seems once you’ve broken it down.
- Give yourself credit for working with yourself rather than against yourself.
If you do feel like you need to make sure that the times you are working are super productive then make sure you shimmy over to the freebie’s page and grab the Productivity Bible for stacks more help and support on this one.
I hope you found this super useful and I’d love love love to hear your thoughts or any hints & tips that help your creative brain flourish…