If creating content is an important part of your business, you might agree that getting it done requires both FOCUS and CREATIVITY. Regardless of what you’re creating – whether it be brief marketing messages or massive online courses – finding the right balance between the two is key.
But about a year ago, I realized that this balance – in my case – was completely off. Having trained my analytical side a LOT throughout my working life, my tendency to use focus and discipline had completely taken over!
How did I find this out? Well, it became evident during a long weekend away with a friend. Placing ourselves in a different environment with the sole focus on writing, I felt completely free to jump between themes and formats. I started with one concept in the morning, only to skip to another one after lunch. I wrote detailed blog posts for a couple of hours, then switched to powerpoint bullits for the next.
To my own amazement and delight, I realized that this lack of focus and discipline made writing so much easier! NOT setting clear goals for the day, NOT firmly sticking to a pre-determined plan simply made it more fun! And I realized that, for me, FUN is an essential ingredient for creation.
I treasure this lesson and think about it often. In fact, I use it daily to manage my own planning and creativity. Focus and results are still my endgame – but I have added creative freedom to my list of essential, positive habits. Finally, I have found the balance.
So what does this practically mean? Here’s how I combine focus and discipline with creative freedom:
I have my overall objectives crystal clear to me. I know what results that I want, and I have a plan to get there.
I have a list of prioritized creative projects. I know what they’re about and what I want them to do for my clients. I know when I want to launch them and what I want them to generate for me.
I have a detailed plan that tells me what I need to get done by the end of each week.
BUT. When it comes to what I do each day and during each part of the day – I give myself the freedom to go after what feels fun!
So, I’ll assign certain action points to certain days, knowing that if I’ll feel more inspired to work on Project C instead of the planned Project A, I’ll do that instead. If writing comes easier than recording a planned video, then that’s what I’ll do. And if I suddenly loose inspiration, I’ll move on to something else.
Of course, there are still things that aren’t fun that I need to do. That’s true for everyone. And that’s where focus and discipline come in.
But this is about making the best use of my creative powers. It’s about becoming more productive by allowing intuition to rule the day. It’s about trusting that I’ll get things done, not in spite of creative freedom, but because of it. Turns out, being a little less in my head and a lot more in my gut is the perfect recipe for creative magic!