Posted by: faultlessfinish | June 6, 2011

Leave It Alone

In business, as in life, it’s important to know when to cut your losses and just walk away, if only for a while. How many times have you tried to force a situation only to have it completely backfire on you?

Obviously there are times when we need to meet tight deadlines and there isn’t a lot of breathing room. And if you’ve been procrastinating, you might not have much choice but to burn the midnight oil. By doing so, however, you do yourself, and your work, a disservice. Since becoming a freelance editor, I’ve realized the power of leaving your schedule open to flexibility.  The other day, I was trying to squeeze some work in late in the evening, despite knowing that my most productive hours are in the morning. After staring blankly at my computer for an hour, I realized that I would probably do more harm to the project than good and walked away. Since the deadline was still a few days away, I could afford to do this. The next morning, the issue I had been trying to solve in the project immediately resolved itself when I sat down to work.

Trying to force creativity is about as useful as trying to force yourself to eat when you’re full – you will just end up feeling miserable. While on a trip abroad recently, I fully realized the power of emptying your mind of work and letting your imagination wander. After finishing some work one afternoon (working while travelling is one of the best perks of freelancing!), I decided to spend the rest of the day in a hammock. I expected work to be the furthest thing from my mind, but an hour into my siesta, while wondering what kind of wildlife I could hear in the background, I had a flash of inspiration and, despite protests from my travelling companions, went right back to the computer to get my thoughts down.

Creativity is a powerful force in all of us – we just need to give it space to breathe and grow. So if you find yourself struggling to write that perfect proposal, fix your protagonist’s major flaw, or design that brilliant website for your dream client, walk away from it. It’s a cliché piece of advice, but it’s cliché for a reason: it works. So sleep on it! And don’t expect yourself to be “on” all the time. “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Namaste 🙂

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