Activating your most productive self isn’t always about being a self-disciplinary.
I’m a chaotic creative. I thrive in flexibility, and doing things “when it feels right”.
I am very intentional about identifying the times in the day when I am most productive for certain tasks.
I seek those golden moments of “absolute focus”.
What I've come to learn, as a chaotic creative, is that finding focus and productivity for me looks a lot different than it does for others in my life.
Take my fiancé, for example. He thrives in scheduling every minute of his day down to a T for productivity.
That is, quite frankly, my utter nightmare.
I require flexibility to call the shots throughout my day. If I am restricted to a box, I rebel by doing absolutely nothing.
I find great joy in knowing that any given day is brand new, and open for all possibilities ahead.
Productivity isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula.
It’s unique to each and every person.
Here’s looking at your, fellow chaotic creatives! We are our own breed.
So what does focus require, if there is no one-size-fits-all formula?
Great question, let’s dig in:
Focus requires facilitating yourself for action.
I work on the mantra of “every action leads to another action”.
On the days I’m feeling highly anxious, and getting out of bed alone feels like a massive task, I start with something small. This is the foundation of how I've managed to navigate my diagnosed PTSD while still thriving and growing in life.
I put on my clothes and make a cup of tea and tidy the kitchen or toss in a load of laundry. I start with something teeny, tiny, and it leads to something else that whatever crosses my path.
When finding focus for me just means revving up, I allow myself to start small.
Every action leads to another action.
Once I get moving, with anything, it creates the headspace I require to move on to my next task and possibly sit down at my desk and get working for the day.
Once I’m at the desk, I’m fine. If I can just manage to get behind my desk, odds are I'm going to get started on something and really roll into my workday.
It’s just getting my a** in that chair that can be a struggle.
Focus requires getting into the right headspace.
Working off of my above point, to become focused you must get ready to focus.
Science has already proven to us that our working environment affects our ability to be productive. The right atmosphere, whichever that unique set-up looks like, is something we all must figure out as we attempt to ensure we get to work. Atmosphere can make all the difference when it comes to whether you take the initiative to get to work.
Personally? The right headspace for me means sitting at my slightly-cluttered desk with music playing in the background (I don’t work well in silence, unless I’m editing and proofing written work), and taking a quick look at the array of inspirational pieces attached to the wall beside me.
Some of those pieces are post-it notes with encouraging quotes scribbled on them.
Others are photos of my loved ones, reminding me why I’m doing this entrepreneurial thing to begin with.
Others are pictures of my closest friends, which give me great joy.
Being happy, content, and in a place of purpose with my attitude helps me buckle down to get sh*t done and be the bada** business owner that I am.
If it wasn't for the right feel and inspiring atmosphere of my workspace, I would have trouble really settling in and getting inspired to work. With the right music and lighting, hours can fly by without my even noticing. That's exactly what a quality workspace and inspiring atmosphere can do for your workflow.
Focus requires a hunger to succeed.
This is especially where the “just sit down and get on with it” mentally doesn’t work so well when it comes to encouraging high-quality focus.
We all have goals — a desire to achieve those goals is one of the most effective ways to encourage us into a place of golden focus and productivity.
If we’re not striving towards some goal or form of success, why would we put the effort into entering a productive working mindset?
To immediately come into a space of focus, get clear on your “why”.
Maybe you need a reminder. Maybe you were never really clear on your “why” to begin with.
Like the post-it notes and photos next to my desk, you need reminders of why you’re doing what you do, and what you’re aiming for.
I don’t thrive in spaces where fear-tactics or threats are used to get me moving — I thrive in positive atmospheres which are driven by inspiration and an end goal for some kind of greater good. Even forcing deadlines on myself can cause too much anxiety, and can send me into a work paralysis of sorts. I try to thrive on my creative and inspired energy, and work with it instead of against it.
Some of you may identify with this. Some creatives may even feel this exact sort of feeling when it comes to their work. If they feel inspired, they can create better than ever.
That said, others of you may thrive under completely different conditions, and may work better under a minute-by-minute schedule.
The point is to find the unique formula of circumstances which enhance and improve your focus in an intentional and active way.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Get creative. Try different things.
The only way you’re going to find out what works and fits is to troubleshoot and eliminate that which does not work.