This morning, I decided to buckle down and
start a project which had been on my to-do list for some time, which was to
review and rework one of my workshops.
This has been on the list for about 6 months and in my mind it was a big
job, one which would take a lot of thought and time. The way to tackle it, I thought, was to bring
the 10 minute rule into play.
The 10 minute rule is a very useful tool to
use when faced with projects you are putting off, whether because the job looks
too big, too difficult, you don’t know where to start or ... whatever your particular
The 10 minute rule is quite simple.
You promise yourself that you will work on the
project for 10 very focussed minutes and no less.
So what use is that, you might ask? Well, 10 minutes is nicely manageable and not
too alarming. It is also surprising what
you can do in 10 very focussed minutes: make a key telephone call, or devise a
game plan, or identified resources needed, or just get clear on what exactly
the project is. (Sometimes, it can also
be long enough to see that the project isn’t actually relevant to what you need
With this rule, generally one of two things
If you work on the project for the promised
10 minutes and then stop, you will feel good because you have kept your word
with yourself. You have started the
project, so it is now a project in progress rather than that thing you are
going to get around to one day. And when
you come back to the project, even if only for another promised 10 minutes, there
is 10 minutes less to do.
On the other hand, once you get to the end
of the 10 minutes, the freedom of reaching that goal might just spur you on to
do a little longer on the project, knowing that you can stop at anytime you
want and anyway, you might as well carry on now that you have started.
Either way, the project gets started and
you no longer feel such a burden about procrastinating.
You might even find, like me this morning,
that the project you have been putting off because it would take a lot of
thought and time is actually very straightforward and only takes 20 minutes!
Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
Halfway through January and how are you doing
with your New Year’s Resolutions? That
Last year, I made a list of things I wanted
to do; create more work, learn as much as possible, make new friends and
contacts, read, dance, visit galleries, exercise, etc, etc. I had it all set up with goals, timelines,
action points. Gosh, it was impressive, but in order to get
everything I wanted done, it seemed I would have to timetable my life down to
the last second. By 3 weeks into the
shiny New Year, I realised there was no way I could keep up with my clever
plans and all I had done was created about 30 sticks with which to beat myself.
Now, goals and action points can be really
useful, but sometimes they can become the focus rather than the tools. You can find yourself completing your actions
successfully whilst losing sight of what you wanted to achieve in the first
place. I would say that most often, what
we ultimately want to achieve is a state of mind, such as happiness, balance,
security, independence, well being, accomplishment.
When I recognised this last year, I
immediately threw out my New Year’s Resolutions and decided that I would
concentrate on just one word, which for me was Abundance. This covered so much – abundance of time, friendship,
money, energy, balance. I lived my life
within this context during the year and at the end of it, I had had a very
successful business year and created another 2 years’ work; created new
collaborations; danced at least twice a week; made loads of new contacts and
had new clients. By living in a mindset
of Abundance, I felt I had enough of all the things I needed to achieve all the
things I wanted. I didn’t get quite as stressed
out by self imposed “oughts” and “shoulds” and found myself open to all kinds
of opportunities which I never expected.
This year, I am keeping Abundance as my
word and adding Forgiveness – forgiveness to myself for the days when I get a
bit too action led.
What is the word which will inspire you
This is the time of year when many of us
are looking ahead and planning our goals for the next 12 months. It is an exciting time, almost like having a
Something of which I have been made aware
recently is that I enjoy this time because I have the natural inclination of
being in the present and looking forward.
This is great, because this means that I am always enjoying the moment
and looking for the next challenge. However, there is a down side – sometimes I
don’t give myself time to look back and congratulate myself, or even fully
appreciate what I have done and how far I have come.
On the other hand, I know people who focus
on the past and what they have done and don’t always look at how they can use
their past experience and knowledge as a springboard to move on to bigger or
The key, as in all things, is to get
balance. Congratulate yourself on
everything you have achieved, learnt and enjoyed in the past 12 months. What did you most like doing? What do you never want to do again? What did
you think you would never do in a thousand years, but which turned out to be
fabulous? How have you developed? Once you have reviewed the past and taken
stock, use this as your foundation from which to build your 2011 dreams and
Whatever your dreams and goals are,
very best wishes to you for a happy, healthy 2011.
I am delighted to have been invited to be guest blogger on the Trailblazing Renaissance Woman's Blog writing about portfolio working. This is a blog which aims to begin discussion on the subject of a creative new way of working. Hope you enjoy reading it here and do join in the discussion.
Do you ever think that although you can do
creative thinking, you can’t do business thinking? This is something which comes up a lot with
my clients. I always think that although
there are, of course, certain things about which you should be aware as a
freelancer / self employed / small business – tax, cash flow, legal
responsibilities, etc., these are tools and skills which can be learnt from
good basic business books. However, your
creative talents and attitude can be key to how you approach the business side
of your practice.
As an example, I run workshops, often with
The Good Witch of the North, Diane Parker.
In the past, I would write the whole presentation down so I would know
exactly what was going to happen every minute.
Now obviously, preparation is very important because unless you are
advertising yourself as an improv performer, you can’t expect people to pay to watch
you making it up as you go along.
However, writing out every word did not leave a great deal of space for interaction
and the joyous, spontaneous insights which often come out of workshops. I knew this was a problem and tried to
solve it by going down the business thinking route, such as reading a book or going
on a course. But the answer actually
came to me when I was dancing the Argentine Tango at The Tango Club in
London. This is something I love doing,
something which is essential to my well being.
One of the key elements of the tango is that although there are individual
steps which are learnt, how they are put together is completely improvised,
based on factors such as the connection you have with your partner, the music
and how much room you have on the dance floor.
It suddenly occurred to me that this was my
key to running workshops; the learnt steps are the essential preparation, the
music is the structure of the workshop and my partner(s) are the workshop
participants. At the risk of sounding
immodest, I am a reasonable dancer and being able to take the attitude and
confidence of my creative dance skills and apply them to workshop presentation has
completely changed my approach for the better.
How could you use your creative skills to
improve and enhance the business side of your practice?
Have you found the answer to a business
problem whilst concentrating on a creative task?