I sat down to write the article for my newsletter. I wasn’t feeling it. No words would come and the blank document in front of me seemed to taunt me. The curser blinked. My mind wandered. Then the voices came: “Snap to it! You have a deadline! People are counting on you!” I sighed, closed my computer, slunk back on my bed, grabbed the remote, and chose to close my eyes instead.
For creatives, if we don’t pay attention to the cycles of our energy, we will not be able to do the tasks in front of us. We’ll crash and then beat ourselves up for “procrastinating” and being “lazy.”
I’d like to propose that maybe we aren’t lazy at all, but we simply have cycles of energy that we need to pay attention to. If you are burned out, tired, or have been pushing through too long, you won’t be able to write that newsletter article. You’ll choose sleep instead.
But what if we really dialed into our energy levels? What if we asked ourselves, “What do you need right now?”
When I ask this question, and pay attention to the answer, sometimes I go for a walk, music blaring in my ears. Sometimes I do mindless activities, like laundry or washing the kitchen counters, just to reset my brain and take a break from the computer. Sometimes I have to jump in the car, clear my head, or call a friend. Other times, I feel motivated and excited and sit down and write Facebook ads, teacher advertisements, newsletter articles, and check off a bunch of overdue tasks.
I am going to let you in on a little secret: I set deadlines for my tasks a little in advance so I can give myself some margin. When the tasks pop up, I actually have 1 week to complete them. When they say “overdue,” I am not behind (yet). I have one whole week to fit them in, when my energy allows. I’ve gamed the system and given myself permission to work on things in my business when I have the energy to tackle them.
I use www.todoist.com and have programmed in recurring tasks, so I don’t have to remember what I’m supposed to be doing. (Who has time to keep thinking "What am I supposed to be doing??") Every day, I get an email of the tasks for the day, as well as the overdue ones. Every day, I sit down for at least 30 minutes of “desk time” to look over my tasks, and tackle the ones that feel easy that day. Is this lazy? No, I think it’s strategic.
Sometimes I am in a high-idea generating mood and can get a lot of creating done. Sometimes I am feeling tired or drained from kids or staff issues and I need to do something more mindless. Sometimes I have energy to go networking or thinking of new, creative marketing ideas. Sometimes I need to just take a break and get back to work later.
Don’t let the voices on the internet convince you that you are lazy and unmotivated and that you just need to PUSH and GRIND and HUSTLE. You will be more productive if you go with your natural flow of energy.
And if you find yourself continually drained and unmotivated, ask yourself what is missing in your life. What dream have you shoved down and ignored? What have you convinced yourself is “impossible”? Who has told you that you “can’t” do the thing you really want to do? If you have absolutely no motivation, you could have a vitamin or hormone deficiency. Or, you could be living a version of your life that is too stressful, too boring, or not the life you are meant to live. Have the courage to ask the tough questions and listen to the answers. And if you need a sounding board, you know I’m always here. Let’s book a call and discuss. I’m cheering you on.
Watch today’s video. Then write me back and let me know your thoughts. My suspicion is that most people need to pay attention to the flow of their energy, but I know creative people really need to.
Or we simply can’t create the next thing.
We can't keep going.
We will burn out.
We will want to quit or give up.
You can’t force your creativity. It needs to flow.
Do you pay attention to your flow of energy?
Chris and I created the Never Alone Inner Circle for creative business owners who are selling services and appointments. We know what it's like to juggle work, family, marriage, and even homeschooling. We've been in business for 20 years. 6 years ago, Chris quit his job to work in the business with me. Life has been one big roller coaster, but we know we are called to inspire, empower and encourage business owners.
If you need focus, strategy, and support, let's talk. The Never Alone Inner Circle could be right for you.
“Rest nurtures creativity, which nurtures activity.
Activity nurtures rest, which sustains creativity.
Each draws from and contributes to the other.”
Kim John Payne
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!
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