You’ve heard the adage: fail to plan and plan to fail. And so, you get some books to read and start searching for articles online, and think “I really must write down by business plans for next year/quarter/month….”.
You decide on a day to do this planning, and what happens next?
- You get overwhelmed by the pile of books and wonder how on earth they find time to write the books in the first place, when you haven’t got time to read them;
- You sit down to start researching the internet for “planning” articles, and end up nosing at Amazon/Ebay/the BBC News site/read your horoscopes and then see what Kate (aka the Duchess of Cambridge) is wearing at the latest charity opening meanwhile wondering how on earth she got back to being a size nothing so soon after having George.
- Berate yourself for wasting time. Go get a cup of coffee so you can do your planning with caffeine. And actually, making a coffee makes you feel like you’re doing something useful and productive.
- Listen to something interesting on the radio whilst drinking coffee. (You deserve a coffee break, don’t you?)
- Get back to desk and answer emails. They take rather longer than you thought. “Must be time to take a break then”, you think.
- Do some filing because your desk is untidy and you heard somewhere that successful people have tidy desks.
- Phone rings, you have a natter with your client/business associate/sales person/your mum.
- What a busy morning! Lunch time already….
Well, you get the picture!
Now, the thing is, you need to stop fighting yourself and you’ll find yourself achieving a lot more without having to force yourself. And you can still have those coffee breaks! You see, we all have our natural energy ups and downs during the day, and we have a rhythm of a week as well. We feel differently on some days to other days; and we feel different throughout the day. Some people call them biorhythms; I don’t want to get that technical. Really, there’s no need.
All you need to do is observe yourself.
Your day will have different energy patterns throughout it. You may feel more energetic in the morning, and be find yourself better at tackling certain tasks than in the afternoon. However, the afternoon may see other parts of you unleashed! For me, I know I’m far logical in the morning and creative in the afternoon. Perhaps you have a natural dip in the middle of the day or late afternoon, where all you can do is close your eyes?
The week has its own ebbs and flows as well. Hopefully, you’ve given your brain a break over the weekend and when you reach Monday, you feel…well, how do you feel? Energetic, positive, clear minded? Or do you find it hard to get going and feel sluggish? What about by the time you get to the end of the week? How do you feel then? Buzzing due to a busy week…or do you prefer a quiet day at your desk to do admin?
There are no right or wrong answers here. What is right for you, is entirely right for you.
(Very Easy) Action Steps
Over the next week, then, I would like you to be conscious of how you “are” every day. Observe yourself and just be aware of how you feel at varying times of the day.
At the end of each day, write yourself a note or two about how you felt throughout the day. No need to write war and peace; no need to do any planning; just a word or two to describe how you felt will do!
And as you approach each day – how does your energy feel about the day ahead? What do you want to do that day? What would you feel you would be your most productive doing? Make a short note at the beginning of each day about what you want to do that day. Has that changed by the time you get to lunchtime? And when you get to the end of the day, what do you feel you would have been best doing (whether or not you did it)? Did you feel grumpy and resentful because you really felt like tackling your accounts, but instead got drawn into writing a proposal? Or did you feel on the ball and empowered all day and are proud of what you’ve achieved?
Again, just observe yourself and jot down a word or two each day in your notes.
And that’s it!
By the end of the week, have a look back over the week and see what patterns have built up.
Next time, we’ll have a look at what you can do with these patterns!