My top left eyelid has fluttered, almost incessantly, for the last week.
If you have experienced this before, you will probably agree that it is one of the most annoying feelings in the world. No pain or discomfort, just an annoying – flicker, flicker, flicker…
If you are superstitious, it foretells impending doom or good tidings.
In my case, being African and all, it announces the arrival of good tidings. Woo hoo!!
Medically, however, it is more than likely caused by fatigue. I haven’t managed more than four uninterrupted hours – not for lack of trying – in any one night this week. I need a full 7-8 hours to function optimally. No doubt, my body is physically tired – why then, am I unable to sleep??
One of the first lessons any business person has impressed upon them is effective time management. Effectively managing your time brings a host of advantages and is usually accompanied by fewer errors, less stress and cash savings. You have tasks planned for tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that. If you won’t learn how, you employ someone to complete the multitude of tasks. Excellent lesson!
It’s creative time and you cannot generate an idea to save your life. What now??
If you work in the creative industry (I am not suggesting this is exclusive to us), you will probably be familiar with this phenomenon – a phase characterised by heightened access to your creative stores and abilities. Everything you see presents the potential for a new design; every design can be reworked in a thousand ways and every version can be made in a million different materials. And no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to turn the switch off.
Behind your eyelids, are shapes, colours and textures, just waiting to bombard you, the moment you pull them shut. What do you do?
WORK THROUGH IT!!
Get out of bed, grab your sketchbook, phablet, tablet, laptop or whatever, and draw till your fingers bleed (Not literally, of course!).
Point is, time management will only take you so far. Sometimes, you’ve got to break the rules or throw out the rule book altogether.
For me, a more efficient way of working can be found in what Heine Nzumafo, my friend and CEO of email communication app PrivyMo, calls creative energy management. Managing my creative energy means when I am unfazed during high-octane creative bursts. Rather, I relish in these rare moments and squeeze out every last bit of juice. During a burst, it is not uncommon to achieve up to a 700% increase in productivity.
Following my normal schedule, I get through 5 – 8 designs a week. Design times are interspersed with research, sales, purchases and admin work. I have a slight squint so spending endless hours at the computer transforming a rough sketch into a vector design is not so good for me.
Now, compare that to this week, where administrative tasks have taken a back seat as I ride this crest. I have managed around about 35 designs in pencil and vector, set up a Google+ business page and completed the site map for a new website. That’s approximately 6 weeks of work at a fell swoop.
Come next week, I will catch up with this week’s admin tasks and leisurely tweak and refine my designs. And when I’m not doing that, I have extra time to dedicate to marketing and make a few one-off pieces for the Etsy and Folksy shops – tasks I would normally have to work many extra hours (time away from my son) to fulfil.
For the sake of a week of sleepless nights, I have gained six weeks of time with my son and the calm of knowing that everything is under control. And if the extra marketing works, I get to earn a little more. I guess those are the good tidings from the eyelid flutter…
So, the next time you find yourself tossing and turning because the images just won’t go away, maybe you’ll get out of bed and give your mind free rein. And if you need to be awake later, do what I do – set your alarm and make a cup of green tea.