You know how sometimes your day drags, and you can’t believe it’s only 3 pm when it feels like it should be going home time? And then other days you look up to see if its lunchtime and it’s gone 3 pm.
Why does that happen?
Well, here’s the thing. When you are in flow the time flies, it just has a different feel to it. In fact – it seems like there is more time and yet it goes faster, all at the same time. And this brings me to the point. Which is that you are most productive when you are in flow. And therefore, does it make sense to try to ensure you are in flow most of the time?
So why do we faff about doing stuff that we really should not be doing?
Have you ever spent the day being ‘busy’ and when you get to the end of the day you don’t actually know what you have done. That’s when you are ‘busy’ being task based, and reactionary. You know the days – when all you seem to do is answer emails and pick up the phone. The thing is – it all seems urgent doesn’t it and, also, it’s “just” a 2-minute task so you might as well do it now and get it out of the way. It feels like you are being busy and getting lots done.
The problem with that, of course, is 3 fold. First – it is rarely “just” 2 minutes. Secondly, one “2-minute” task leads to another and then another. Third – and probably most importantly – multi-tasking is NOT the most efficient way to work. OK – if you are washing the dishes you can probably have a conversation with you partner at the same time without either suffering. Because washing up does not engage much brain power, you have done it a million times and it doesn’t require a lot of working stuff out or decision making. Therefore, your brain is ‘free’ to have the conversation.
The same is not true at work. The 2-minute email DOES require your brain power, and may distract you so much from what you are doing that you forget what you were doing and fail to go back to it. At the very least it has taken you out of flow and slowed you down. When I am in flow writing a blog for example – I can have one written in 20 minutes if I am really in flow, not distracted and talking about stuff I know a lot about. On the other hand, if I allow distractions and take that seemingly urgent phone call (which could actually have waited an hour or even till tomorrow), then it can take me a couple of hours to write a blog.
Now, I don’t know what your business is like this week in December, but here at Strategy Social Media we are incredibly busy scheduling all the normal monthly activity and also all the activity which will happen from December 22nd (when we break up for Christmas) to January 3rd when most of the team come back. The beauty of our business is that things CAN be scheduled in this way so we can have a ‘proper’ break.
I am sure it is similar in most businesses. You may not be able to schedule things to happen when you are not there, but you will surely be rushing around trying to cram a quart into a pint pot (as my Nan used to say) and get all the jobs done before Christmas.
So, the key to getting the most out of the next week or so – is to focus on the big picture. What are the tasks that ONLY you can do? Do those. Those are the things that are likely to put you in flow and you will get more done. Delegate the rest.
And please, have a break at Christmas. Yes – I know you love your job. I love mine. I don’t see it as ‘work’ most of the time. However, as my dear old Nan also used to say (and she was right) – a break is as good as a rest. What she meant by that was – doing something different for a while, whether that be a holiday, a different routine or taking up a new hobby – will give you the mind space you need. Because we all do. Our brains work much better if they are challenged in different ways at different times, and that includes meditation – yes it IS a challenge to switch off the noise and do nothing. Perhaps a blog for another time.
Meanwhile – whenever you break for Christmas – get the most out of the time before by getting yourself in flow.
See you next week for our last blog before Christmas!