Posts Tagged ‘energy’
Recently I was asked to answer the following question: What do I do that enables me to create so much?
My first reaction was derision.
Create much? Me? Mwahahaha.
And then I counted off for 2011: The Paradox Experience intensive 15-week programme (including the website and the shhhh-don’t-mention-it-out-loud-it-was-SO-hard 2 minute video that took 2 days); 12 newsletters; 44 blog posts; 2 website overhauls and revamps; and the Moon Diary – which this year for the 1st time, I published as well as co-wrote.
Okay, so, right. Ahem.
Well, I do many things. And I made a little list of them. (Lists is one of the things I do, incidentally, you know?) And I thought I’d blog about them because it’s a good question and one that deserves to be shared. Obviously, we all operate differently and I’m not saying my list of things is THE list of things, but I offer it up in case you find something of use in it.
And also, I will post it in chunks, because otherwise it will be very long to read, and just too much generally. (Imagine me doing that hand thing and saying “just too much”.)
So today, thing number one:
WHEN I CAN’T BE ASKED.
(When I first came to the UK that is how I thought “can’t be arsed” was spelled, and I kinda like my polite version of it.)
You might think this is the polar opposite of creating. Actually, it’s a useful signpost! When I can’t be asked to work on whatever project I have on the go, it’s a sign that:
1/ It’s not the right project for me!
It doesn’t fill me with glee, it makes my heart sink, it’s a little bit literally-dreadful (by which I mean the mere prospect of it fills me with dread).
Symptoms: I huff and puff. I roll my eyes. I drag my feet. I moan about it to people. When I talk about it, I frown and look sad. Like, when I agreed to work on a project for all the wrong reasons, and then everyone got despondent about it anyway because the energy wasn’t right, and eventually the project was dropped.
Alternatively… I panic! It’s scary! I want someone to do this for me so I don’t have to do it! I’ll pay them with cake! Whatever! Like, when one business mentor advised me to go and do my market research by standing outside John Lewis on a Saturday with a clipboard. I still go EEEEEEEE!!!! at the mere suggestion. (I actually tried. I went. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I went home.)
Solution: It really isn’t aligned with who I am. Time to do things differently, in a way that’s right for me. If I’ve committed to a project involving other people, time for me to ‘fess up that it’s no longer right for me, collaboratively set up a strategy for my exit, and bow out gracefully. I don’t want to be working on things that make me moan-y. I want to work on things that make me happy. It’s better for all involved.
2/ It’s not the right time!
Sometimes I can’t be asked and yet I don’t huff and puff and I don’t panic and I know in my bones that the project is right for me. And still… I sit on it.
Symptoms: I go quiet. My brain goes quiet. There are no ideas there. Nothing to work on and get my teeth into. Tumbleweed.
Solution: It’s the right project but not the right time yet. Maybe I need to gather more information. But more likely, the processing of all the data already gathered, the percolating that goes on behind the scenes in my subconscious, is not complete. The coffee maker hasn’t beeped yet. (I don’t drink coffee. Do coffee makers bleep?)
So what do I do now? I keep myself occupied doing routine stuff. My brain is doing its thing in its own time. I churn along, in my own little quiet way. If this doesn’t fill a day, I sit in bed and read graphic novels from the library. That achieves the double aim of pleasantly passing the time and feeding my brain a completely different set of input. (I will talk about combinatorial creativity in another post.) Eventually, the coffee machine will go ping. (Assuming coffee machines do.)
3/ I haven’t got the energy.
Over the years I have learned to tune in to my body’s needs and practice gentle self-care, but occasionally things jump in and I find myself overcommitted and I want to honour those commitments and I end up tired. That’s no biggie. It’s part of life.
It’s only frustrating when there’s something I’m aching to be working on, it’s the right project, it’s the right time, all the ideas have come together and I know what I’m doing now, I just need to DO IT.
Symptoms: I’m chomping at the bit. And I haven’t got it in me. Flat. Depleted. Nyet.
Solution: If I push through my tiredness and force the issue, I (now) know that I will end up even worse than before, and that I won’t concentrate properly on that awesome project that I am so excited about and I won’t do it justice. Plus it will take longer as I struggle through. And that would be a waste of both time and energy, for a mediocre result. So best to rest up now, and breeze through it with joy when I’m rested. It will make me much happier that way.
So there we are.
Incidentally, this blog post is topical. I wanted to blog the first part of the series today, and I looked at several topics to start off with, and for every one of them I JUST COULDN’T BE ASKED. So I blogged about that. My energy levels are low because I’ve been reworking the website today, and my brain has given all the juices it had to give.
If you would like to take a look at the updated website, please, be my guest. Your comments will be gladly received.
And now I’m going to go put my feet up and read some Terry Pratchett.
Raw cacao is an amazing superfood and is choc full (hahaha – pardon the pun – had to be done!) with minerals and essential elements that make you energised and zingy. I try and munch a few cacao beans daily, but just on their own they are pretty bitter. Combine them into raw chocolate however, especially the way Nicola does it, and it’s a whole different experience! I can safely say Nicola is a raw chocolate making genius.
Here are the details of the workshop – click on the image below for a larger version of the flyer.