Everyone has a time in the day when they are at their best, most creative and most effective self. We also all find interactions with other people either draining or energizing. Or maybe we’re one of those few who find people both exciting AND draining.
In the early days of building DCM Communications, I had a friend recommend this wonderful book to me: “When” by Daniel Pink.
In the book, Pink walks through the research on optimal efficiency and touches on how our brains’ creative energy ebbs and flows throughout a day along with tips on how to find YOUR best schedule.
Clarifying My Priorities
As much as I LOVE what I do and the services I provide for event pros and small business owners, I did NOT start DCM so it could become my life.
Rather, I started it to fuel, feed, and enhance my life through creative and intellectually-stimulating work that benefited others.
I also did not start DCM to work 60 hours per week. Hell, I don’t even want to work 40 hours a week! (If I’m being brutally honest, 25 hours sounds about ideal.)
(Disclaimer: Some weeks I hit that target, some weeks it moves for various reasons. It’s about progressively working towards the business I want, not what others have.)
But in order to achieve that without the quality of my services and work suffering, I needed to refine my approach and get as efficient as possible.
Through following Pink’s tips I found that I am both drained and energized by people.
Given that, how the heck was I supposed to figure out a good schedule?
Finding My Ideal Schedule
Once I had determined I am one of those people who is both energized and drained by other humans I needed to build a schedule to suit that.
Working in a creative field, and one where I coach other people, means I need to make sure the energizing won out and my clients get my BEST self, not my drained self 👎🏻
So how did I do that?
Well, the same way I found out what fuel is best for me during a marathon: by trial (and maybe error) during training.
During that training, I found that when I have meetings in the morning, I hit a slump around mid-afternoon that no delicious meal or beverage can pull me from.
My brain is done brain-ing for the day. Kaput.
When I use the morning for all of my creative work (for DCM and its clients), then I can use the afternoon for meetings. This shift helps ensure I am energized by interacting with others and using my brain in a different (usually a strategic vs. creative fashion) rather than drained by those interactions.
And even if I do get drained, the day is done so it’s fine.
There aren’t three to four hours of “traditional” work time left where I have to slog through.
There’s no need for the immense amount of self-talk it takes to get a single task done when my brain is done brain-ing. (i.e. “Just one more task.“ “Oh look, a shiny object!” “Do one task then you can take a break. “Oh a new Reel on Instagram to watch!”)
Some of the benefits I’ve experience from this scheduling approach:
- stronger, more effective email copy
- more educational content for my clients & community
- cleaner, more targeted designs in half the time
- a more energetic, fun and truly ME on all client calls
- more time for other pursuits (eh hem, marathon training)
…and SO much more!