Weeknotes, 27th January 2023
This week I’ve been thinking about busyness, business, and motivation.
I’ve been busy this week with:
- User and stakeholder interviews
- Content auditing
- Data analysis
- Content design
- New business meetings and proposals
I hate being busy. I like to be productive but relaxed and focused on one thing at a time. To me, busy is the opposite of that; it’s unproductive and stressful and disrupted.
Normally my work days are pretty clear, with only a couple of calls/meetings and not too many distractions from Slack, email, etc, so it’s easy to get the unbroken chunks of time I need to focus and get deep work done. That’s not the case at the moment, so I’ve gone back to blocking out time for specific tasks and setting a limit on how many calls I do each day.
I’ve also been using Flown since the start of the year to help with focus. Flown offers ‘live and on-demand deep work sessions’. Basically you go on a massive Zoom call for 1–2 hours, break into small groups to talk about how you’re going to use the time, then get to work. The longer sessions have a break in the middle for breathing exercises, stretching, or something like that. I’m finding it helps a lot when it comes to keeping my focus and staying on task. If you want to give it a try, I have a referral link that gets you a discount, but you can try it for free for a month, and there’s a free membership tier too. Find out more about Flown.
I’ve been thinking about some long-term ways to tackle the busy-ness. I had a coffee with my former colleague from Brilliant Noise, Lyndsay Borgonon. Lyndsay is an amazing operations and project manager, and she gave me some very solid advice on better processes and planning. (Thanks Lyndsay!)
I also thought about motivation, what drives me, and my ambitions for my business. As I said last week, I don’t want to run an agency. My biggest ambition is to run a flexible business that can scale up to do more good work for good clients, and then scale back down again. And the ambition that underpins that is to play a little part in making a difference to people’s lives, because I believe that content strategy has a part to play by making better digital experiences and services.
On a pragmatic level, I have an ambition to earn more money. This isn’t greed, it’s about things like being able to take a healthy amount of time off like I would if I had a job-job, put some money in a pension so I can retire one day, or have a buffer in case the car breaks down.
My ambitions are connected to my stupid, needy ego too, I am ashamed to admit. I look around at my talented peers who are getting rewarded and recognised for their brilliance and excellent work, and I think ‘I want that too’. I also feel like I don’t deserve it. And then sometimes I feel like maybe I do deserve it. It’s confusing. Someone I respect and look up to reached out with a little pearl of an idea this week about how to get that recognition and reward, and it’s given me a lot to think about.