I just couldn’t wait to get started!
I finished up a big client project and I wanted to use the freed up time for a writing project of my own. But I didn’t take account of needing some quality downtime between putting the client work to bed, and starting my own project.
When enthusiasm gets in the way of recognising we need recuperation time
For a long while, I’ve been meaning to edit a book I wrote some years ago. And I felt so enthusiastic about getting going with this that I thought I could flip straight from one project into the next.
I didn’t reckon on how tired I’d feel when I finally finished the client work. It didn’t even occur to me that I needed to schedule some time out between these two big undertakings.
Mark McGuinness mentions this in his book, Productivity for Creative People in which he divides the work of creative solopreneurs into three categories:
He classifies big project deadlines under the ‘events’ category - along with exhibiting, performing, attending or speaking at a conference, launching a new product or service, running a webinar or seasonal sale, applying for funding or residencies, and so on.
“Because (events) consume a lot of energy, you need to allow time to prepare before and recuperate afterwards—one event after another is a recipe for burnout.”
I tried to transition directly from a project deadline (event) to asset building (editing a book) but I hadn’t taken account of the fact that I would be tired!
I’ve got so much better at not juggling too many balls at once. So now it’s time to implement a new practice: Planning downtime between my projects.
Rather than thinking of this time as ‘dead’ space, I need to recognise that this refuelling is important and necessary. It doesn't matter whether I spend the time prone on the sofa, strolling by the water or out seeing some art. It just needs to NOT be work!
Do you schedule quality downtime?
What about you? Do you schedule white space between your major undertakings? Or do you stuff your calendar to bursting, only to hit burnout on a regular basis?