Time and Finding the Silver Bullet
I love my morning routine
My morning routine starts with a workout either on my elliptical glider or a brisk walk. This time is very important to me as it sets the tone for my day and really helps me shape my desired outcomes. Most days I use this time to listen to self-development books that help me continuously improve my productivity and creativity.
Time is my greatest asset
Productivity and creativity are very different ends of a spectrum and sometimes the strategies to develop both of these skills are completely opposite to each other. It is a constant challenge and a constant focus as time is my greatest asset, and my most precious resource.
When I moved my studio to my home premises many years ago, I found that it gave me a unique competitive edge as it freed me up to have more creative time but also that I got more done. I am one of those people that has quite a tough work ethic and I work at a fast pace. I find it energising and I love the buzz of getting things done. Often the challenge for my team is that I create the speed around me which feeds my creative chaos; this is not always conducive for others who have a different ethic or priorities.
What worked before is not effective now
I find working from home has increased the pace in which work is happening – this pace is now faster than it has ever been. (It is either this or I am getting older!) I feel like everything is happening at once and that everyone is running hard to get things done. I am uncertain if the time lockdown took from everyone is forcing people to aim to get more done in order to play a little catch-up? I hear it from my clients, my peers, and my colleagues. There seems to be very little middle ground: either everyone is super busy or they have no work. I am very grateful that we are the latter and have wonderful projects that are keeping us busy, however we also need to focus on new methods to improve efficiencies.
So, what is the answer?
After having listened to many time management, project management, productivity, being exceptional, being creative, finding your purpose and a range of other good advice books, my conclusion is that no-one has the answer. There is no magic wand or one thing that can radically transform the outcome. In my opinion, it is a constant process of changing small things that over time have an impact. It is about getting to know yourself, understanding how you change and grow, and what that means for how you manage your time and what you get out of it.
What is working for me?
I am finding that taking things away and the continuous process of decluttering my mind, my space and calendar is just as important as adding to or improving something. You also have to know when something is not adding value. It is like a dying leaf on a plant, it just drains the rest of the plant from nourishment that could have been better used elsewhere.
Understand what gives you energy
You also need to understand what gives you energy. This is just as important as understanding what drains you. What gives us energy is often the very reason we start to do something, like I did with interior design, and then this becomes the very thing we have the least time to do because are so busy with the supporting activities like project management, business management, marketing that allow us to commoditise our core purpose.
The importance of points of crisis
In order for us to keep moving up and forward there will be continuous moments when there is a crisis of activity that hits a saturation point. Where full capacity is reached from a resource, skill, time and money perspective. I call these points of crisis, “points of dissatisfaction with the status quo”. These moments in our lives define what comes next. The longer we let this dissatisfaction continue the more things have a tendency to spiral or eventually reach breaking point. It is a constant process to re-evaluate and stay aware of what is happening around us.
You are the secret
I find it interesting how these elements play out with my design work, in my business and my personal life. They all feed each other. The better I get to know myself and continuously work on understanding how things impact me and my response, the more I grow as a person, the better my business runs. The opposite is also true. When I neglect to respond to something that bothers me or I just let it slide thinking I will deal with it later, inevitably it comes to visit me in some form or the other. I think this is always going to be a journey of learning. A constant process of evaluating and keeping track. There is no silver bullet just our responses big and small.
Feed your soul
It is also important to respond to moments of intuition – not just for ourselves, but for those around us. This means to listen in the moments of busyness. The quiet whisper that gives you the message and insight that you need to make the right decision. Some days I find this easy to do and other days it is harder. Right now, as I sit writing to you it was important to stop, to focus on what is important to me and what feeds my soul. Not just to do, but really make what I do count in the smallest and biggest of ways.
The power of your space
When I design a space, I remind myself of how an environment changes – how we respond, how we feel, and what we do. It has the power to change a decision. To feed a moment. To help us manage our time. To achieve our goals. To refocus us. To energize us. Where you spend your time is just as important as what you spend your time on. It is an investment in you; into your life and what you hope to achieve. More than ever before we are stopping to consider this. Waking up to the importance of it all.
Genuis can take time
This morning during my morning run some answers came, I was listening to a shortcast by Malcolm Gladwell on Blinkist. He was speaking about two kinds of creatives in life; the conceptual geniuses such as Picasso, and then those of us who take years to find that perfect harmony, that perfect piece, that perfect design. He tells the story of Leonard Cohen and how it took him 15 years to craft his most famous song “Hallelujah”.
For some us, it is never completed until it feels right. We keep going. We craft, we destroy what we create, we start again, we go back to it. We never give up until one day, there it is. It emerges. I love these moments. I live for these moments. I believe in these moments. Genius takes time.
So let us keep going in the belief that the answers will emerge. Don’t give up. I believe that nothing is random and never was.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and share this journey.