For a lonnnng time I thought something was wrong with me. I thought I could never really be successful, as all the productivity tips I read just didn’t apply to me.
I could never stick to a plan, or any kind of planning system. And for a long time, I got by. But I knew I’d have to change my approach when I started working for myself.
The thing was, I didn’t have a scooby doo where to start!
Productivity experts would say, “Work in the morning, when you have most energy,” but I didn’t find that to be true for me. I found it extremely difficult to even focus.
I thought I just didn’t have it in me to succeed. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. If I was, surely I’d just be able to stick to the plan I’d set out?
And it was then I realised. The truth is we’re not ALL super productive in the mornings. We don’t have the same amount of energy and focus every single day of the month. Our feelings, and tendencies can fluctuate from day to day and even hour to hour.
Realising this changed my world overnight. I realised that there’s nothing wrong with me – I’m different from EVERYONE else – I’m NOT a failure. I just don’t fit a particular system productivity experts often recommend. That doesn’t mean that I can’t plan…just that I need to do it in a different way than some people do.
Do you relate?
Because I also realised that I couldn’t be the only one struggling with this. With billions of people on this planet, the chances are that others were feeling the same too. Other people (maybe you?) feeling like a failure because they couldn’t stick to a plan. Other people feeling like they weren’t good enough.
And I did these three things to help me organise my creative self:
Took notice of when I get the most work done.
This is so important. For a system to work for you, you’ve got to find something that aligns with yourself naturally. If you try and force yourself to fit a system it’s not designed to, you’re never going to stick to it. (Which is why I kept failing!) When I started paying attention to my energy throughout the day, I realised I didn’t have a bunch of energy for big tasks in the morning, my energy surge is around 2pm – 5pm (which is when I’m writing this!) And I actually am super productive in the evenings too. Now I can be kinder to myself when I struggle to get going in the mornings and know that I can work in the evenings occasionally if I need to – as this is my super productive time.
Created a schedule to suit ME
Because I was now aware when my most productive times were, I could create a schedule to suit me! This is the advantage of working for yourself – you have all the control. I use a system I call, ‘Down to the hour’, you can find out more about it here.
Got out of the ‘employee’ mindset.
You might not even realise you’re doing this. But if you’re like me and you’ve worked for yourself your whole life, you might just be caught in the trap of ‘thinking like an employee’. And if you work for yourself now, you need to get out of that. You need to think like a CEO! (Because if you run your own business, that’s essentially what you are). Stop thinking about the way you ‘SHOULD’ do things. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for doing things differently. As a business owner that’s your prerogative, so own it!
These three things have changed the way I approach my business and my life, and stopped me from constantly beating myself up for not being the way I thought I ‘should’ be.
I hope that you can take this knowledge and use it to become more productive yourself. As when you become more productive you just feel more aligned and positive about yourself and your work. It really is SUCH a game changer.
If you need help finding a planning system that works for you, check out my downloadable toolkit – The Creative’s Planning Toolbox, which walks you through the whole process.