As I have mentioned in several posts, I read a lot. One of my favorite books in the last year was a book titled Daily Rituals, which is an in-depth study of the work habits of history’s great writers. I was fascinated by the fact that no two people seemed to have the same ritual and that’s when I realized that that’s probably what made them great; they knew how they worked best and they didn’t force it.
This is a lesson that I desperately needed to learn. For a long time, I tried to work like everyone else I knew. I would organize my day they way I saw my coworkers organize their day and I was surprised when our results varied.
There is a lot of talk about the value of self-awareness when it comes to building a brand. I get it. We need to know our product well enough to sell it. But self-awareness is valuable when it comes to productivity as well. If we know ourselves well enough to know how we work best, we can redesign our work to fit us, rather than the other way around.
I’ve had my struggles. I read that the best writers did their writing in the morning, so I arranged my day to give myself time in the morning to write. I was able to force myself to do it, but nothing was of great quality.
When I looked back at some my best work, be it blog posts, keynotes, or workshops, all of it was written in the afternoon. It’s when I’m most creative and the work comes easiest. By trying to force in the morning, I was missing the flow that comes in the afternoon.
Conversely, I find that I’m much better at organizing in my mornings. By trying to force that in my afternoons, I would end up frustrated and waste some of my most creative moments.
I had to understand me and design my work to enhance my effectiveness, rather than trying to force myself into a box that didn’t fit.
As I have said on multiple occasions, I don’t have all of the answers, but I write to solve my problems in hopes that the lessons I learn can help someone else. This has been a major lesson for me to learn.
Maybe you’re most creative in the morning and can crank out content before the sun comes up. Maybe you’re a night owl and need to work late at night to do your best work. I truly believe that there’s no one best way, there’s just what works best for us. The hard part is figuring it out and then consistently putting it into practice. When we know ourselves, we can flow it and not force it. When we do the work it easier, faster and better making the hard work well worth the investment.