When you’re running your own business there’s so much to do, it’s never ending. It’s easy to put your head down and not come up for air until everything’s done but it’s a constant process. Some people revel in this, but when you’re working with clients and are offering a service, it’s important you keep your energy up, take a break and recharge from time to time.
This summer I’ve experienced difficulty getting into the swing of things, and interestingly whilst speaking to colleagues it was reassuring to know I wasn’t the only one. It’s a vicious cycle of having so much to do, feeling overwhelmed or lacklustre of energy, to feeling frustrated and unproductive.
The annoying factor is that the holidays are a quiet period– the perfect time to get things done surely? So you take a little break, enjoy a getaway perhaps to help recharge the batteries. However what happens when that’s not enough.
There’s so much pressure to push on – to make the effort, to drive forward at all costs. However you simply stare at the computer – the task that should take a day to complete is delayed or demoted on the priority list or anything you do produce just doesn’t hit the mark. You’ll save it and come back to it when you’re ‘fresh’ and focussed. And then another week rolls past.
So what happens when you hit a complete block?
Even a small step forward is a step in the right direction
Well the first thing to perhaps do is not to be so hard on yourself. We all have these moments. Business Insider produced a list of nine TED Talks to help you become more productive which I found incredibly fascinating (whilst of course stressing due to my procrastinating). My favourite was Adam Grant’s TED Talk on original thinkers and the link between moderate procrastinators and levels of creativity. It seems that sometime a little time out can help us produce original ideas – so maybe it’s not always a bad thing?!
If that doesn’t work then relax – easier said than done but sit down for a while as it’s time for an assessment. There are so many sides to being a business owner that perhaps this block is a signal to stop, take note and review what other sides aren’t being fulfilled that may be instead pulling you back to a grinding halt.
If you have the time, and you can afford to do so, accepting a little time out could be what you need to make sure you look after yourself first. After all running a business is about the long game and you need to be in peak condition. What balance can you bring to your mind, your health, your general wellbeing? Through a little questioning and analysis it transpired that my blocks were a result of feeling uninspired. Usually my favourite fix would be travel and adventure. Trust me if I could jet away for several weeks I would have, but when you’re also trying to work on new business proposals and current client work, it’s just not possible, so I tried to find other ways in dealing with this to get back me back on track.
‘My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open’
I came across this sign on Instagram and had to share it and judging by the response this seems to resonate with many people! I decided I needed to close down a few ‘tabs’ in that constantly whirring brain of mine, before it completely falls off its hinges!!! Instead of being a slave to work requirements I made a positive shift to help free myself so I could work smarter. I would focus on one task and once completed would shut that tab down. I made a conscious effort to block out unnecessary distractions and improve my focus by practising meditation. If something was of interest but didn’t fit into my four remaining tabs of family, health, business and creativity, then it was saved and filed for another time when I can give it the full attention is deserves.
Surround Yourself With Do-ers
Often we feel deflated when we’re unproductive but some tips and advice from others who understand can help lift us up to take action can really make the difference. Find people who inspire you and will encourage you as you take those steps forward, not matter how small or slowly, a step in the right direction is better than no step at all.
Enjoy What Inspires You
Finally to find my inspiration, I not only took time to re-focus and re-establish some goals and plans to reach them, but I decided to embrace my creativity through more reading and also exercises such art classes.
This not only brought me pleasure and a feeling of satisfaction and productivity but interestingly, I found my flow again when it came to writing. The next day after an art class instead of staring at my computer willing for coherent sentences to appear, I not only sailed through my tasks for the day but also managed to write four blog posts.
It can be a hard to be constantly motivated and productive, particularly if you work for yourself. However during the quiet months, maybe instead of trying to push forward, it’s time for some self-care to re-connect and find your inspiration or mojo. You’re then fully charged to overcome those blocks to help get you back on track and back into the game.