There are times in our careers where we’re really intensely working on a project. We start to sacrifice a whole bunch of things in our life and it gets really stressful and we say to ourselves, “I’m sure it’ll be better once I get through this project, everything will be better.” Well, I’ve got news for you – it won’t! But hear me out.
I met a guy this week named Danny Iny. He is the Founder and CEO of a business called Mirasee – they are a curriculum development and online learning course development company. He was telling me about this particular time he had four projects in a row, and they were intense. And he said himself at the end of these four projects, I’m going to stop, fix everything up and make sure this doesn’t happen again and I don’t get so stressed. He said he knocked each project out of the park one after the other. Just absolutely nailed them. Then he said that he got back to his room at the end of this one particular day, he’d just finished up with a client, he got back into his room and ping, off goes his emails. It was for another particular project that’s gone a bit wrong, and he had to get right back into it. And the whole cyclone, the whole hurricane started over again. And he was back working his tail off.
And so he said, “Right, I just can’t do this. I’ve got to get out.” And he went for a walk. And he sat down and he said to himself, “I’ve got to work out a way now that allows me to actually do this job well, and to do it with grace.” What a lovely sentiment.
Right now, if you’re in one of those moments, where it’s highly intense and there’s heaps of hard work, it doesn’t feel graceful at all; in fact, it feels completely the opposite. It feels like you’re running around like a headless chicken trying to keep up with what’s going on, probably delivering poor quality work as well, compared to what you’re capable of, and that is the truth of it.
So how can you do this?
So what we want to do is put in a bit of a pattern interrupt, and put the right mindset and the right framework into what you’re doing in the way you manage your time and your energy when times get tough. You can’t run at 110% for very long, it can only be like that for a very short period. You want to be able to store that up for very, very special times. Most of the time you want to be running at about 90%. This was mentioned by one of our great CEOs once, and I think it’s fantastic advice.
If you’re in an intense moment, this is what I do if things are really, really busy. I know that during business hours, I’m probably not going to have the time to take stock. There’s too much going on, too many clients calling, workshops to run, etc.
So I’ll do it at 5 o’clock in the morning. I go to a café down the road that I know is open at that time, I know that no-one’s going to be emailing me, no one’s going to be calling me. All the work that I do at that time is totally discretionary.
So I work out what my desired outcome is, what do I want to be achieving and how do I want to do it? What’s the mindset I need to bring to this set of tasks that are in front of me, and what is the little framework or process I’ve got to put in place to manage my time and my energy, so my output is optimal? That might mean a change in the way my schedule works, or it might mean I’ve got to delegate better.
Now it’s your turn!
So this is a little thing for you to do. Take some time out and work out a way for you during those periods to operate differently at a slightly higher level than ever before. Perhaps you need some new skills, maybe you need to delegate better, maybe you need some better templates for time management. But look at some things from the top-down so that when you’ve got to run at 100%, you’re absolutely flying. Now, as I said if you’re in one of those moments, don’t wait until it’s over. Find a way to take stock, to stop and do it gracefully, because it will not be better afterwards unless you learn how to do it now, while it’s intense.