I’m lucky enough to work with lots of different clients from lots of different creative fields in my coaching business. From photographers, to coaches, to designers, to writers, and everything else in-between. We focus on so many different areas in their creative work and lives, but a topic that always comes up during our work together is their routine and workflow in their business.
Client after client, when we first start working together I see so many of them struggling with feeling overwhelmed, overworked, underutilised, unfulfilled, and burned out in their business. Although we all know that a dream job is still a job, we still quietly ask ourselves:
Is this all there is?
Is it supposed to be this hard?
Isn’t a dream job supposed to be just at least a little bit dreamy?
I’ve been there. You may remember last year when I battled with some serious business burnout, and behind the scenes I was feeling so unfulfilled in my creative work and life. Everything on the surface was fine - I was making a good living, working with incredible clients, having the freedom to plan out my days in whatever way I wanted to - but deep down I just wasn't fulfilled by the daily grind in my business.
I’ve shared on the blog this year How I Intentionally Schedule My Week As A Creative Business Owner, and an update to that post, but today I want to dive even deeper into this topic and share with you why intuitive working has been the catalyst for a more joyful, impactful, and productive daily grind for me along the way, and why I encourage my clients to embrace working intuitively too.
So what does it look like when we’re not working intuitively?
When we’re not working from our intuition, we’re out of flow with our core business goals, values, and vision. We’re putting in the hours into our business, but we’re not actively moving in the best direction for us. Instead of building the business we want to build, we’re just scattered and lacking in clear focus along the way.
This manifests differently for each of us, but it may look like:
- Feeling overwhelmed, overworked, stressed, and like you have no idea what is the best next step to take in your business
- Feeling like you're not good enough, like you're not working hard enough, and that you're not truly achieving anything with your time and energy along the way
- Feeling disconnected from your business and the “why” behind your creative work and life
- Being too influenced by the ideas, advice, opinions, and experiences of others
- Feeling like a hamster on a wheel, instead of confident, energised, and inspired in your business
- Feeling unfulfilled by this dream business that you’ve built from scratch, and then feeling guilty and confused for feeling this way
We may still be ticking of our to-do lists, and reaching our income goals, and looking “successful” on the outside, but where it really matters deep down we’re still feeling unfulfilled and disconnected in our creative work and lives. You still may be showing up every single day, getting things done, and taking care of what needs to be taken care of, but you’re aching for the spark to come back into your creative life so you can stop feeling so damn overworked and uninspired.
And why do I believe in intuitive working?
Ultimately, working intuitively is all about working smarter, not harder. It’s a way of making things happen where you instinctively know what needs to be done in your business and where and how best to spend your energy. It’s about losing way less time to doubting what it is you should be doing, and instead just being in constant flow when it comes to getting stuff done.
Intuitive working means that we trust ourselves more, that our actions are truly aligned with our core values, goals, and vision for our business, and that we reach our highest potential along the way because we stop wasting so much time on the things that don’t really matter. I break intuitive working down into 8 steps:
Trusting your instincts
Working intuitively means you wholeheartedly trust your instincts in your business - and this makes it so much easier to make decisions along the way. It gives you the focus and clarity you need to consistently move forward instead of feeling stuck and lost in your work.
Working to your strengths
Working intuitively gives you space to truly thrive in your business. By honouring your strengths and how you work best, you’re able to really make things happen as you go.
Being connected to your business and it’s needs and priorities
By working intuitively, you feel connected to your business every step of the way. Instead of losing time to second guessing whether or not you’re making the right decisions, you feel focused and content knowing what your business's core needs and priorities are right now.
Feeling good in your routine and process
Intuitive working also means you can feel content in your routine as a business owner - no more worrying whether or not you’re working hard enough, or feeling distracted by the noise happening around you in your industry. Instead, you can find joy and fulfillment in your work along the way.
Working alongside your natural ebb and flow
So many of us try and fight against our natural ebb and flow in our business, yet when we work intuitively we give ourselves permission to honour it instead. Although this may sound counterproductive when it comes to being productive in our work, I’ve found it actually leads to even more productivity and high quality work along the way.
Finding joy and focus in your day-to-day
Probably my personal favourite when it comes to intuitive working - the joy and focus you can find every day just from listening to your instincts and intuition instead of letting outside sources or standards guide you in your work.
Bringing to life your higher level work
Through working intuitively and embracing an essentialist mindset too, you can truly start to bring your best, most impactful, and meaningful work to life. By listening to your intuition, you can cut out all the things that don’t truly matter and instead stay focused on your most important work along the way.
Being in control of your workflow
There’s nothing worse as a creative business owner when your workload feels out of your control - feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and lost is always frustrating in your work. Working intuitively enables you to feel in control of your workflow and focused in your business, while also giving you the confidence to be at peace with the parts of your business that are out of your control too.
Intuitive working, ultimately, is a more joyful, impactful, and productive way to work in your business - without the overwhelm, stress, exhaustion, and constantly feeling not good enough that you may have been used to so far.
An exercise for you:
If working intuitively sounds like something that can serve you in your creative journey right now, I have a quick exercise for you today to kickstart that process for you.
- What do I want to make happen in this season of my business?
- How do I want to feel in this season of my creative work and life?
Then ask yourself:
- What am I prioritising my time and energy on right now, and is that aligned with what I actually want to make happen?
- How am I feeling in my creative work and life right now, and is it how I actually want to feel in this season?
If you start to see a disconnect between what you actually want to make happen and how you actually want to feel as you navigate this season, ask yourself:
- What do I need to leave behind, refocus on, and put in place in my business and life so I can dedicate my time and energy on the things that matter most?
See what comes to the surface for you, give yourself permission to really get laser-focused on the creative work and life you really want along the way, and be brave enough to take bold steps in the best direction for you. And if you'd like more support with this, I've outlined the process I've walked myself and my clients through in my new course, The Intuitive Workweek, and would love to support you in this journey more if you feel like it's a good fit for you right now.
More than anything, I hope this post can help you see that it's possible to work hard, reach incredible goals in your business, and honour your creative potential while still finding joy and fulfilment in this journey too. We don’t have to settle for a business and a routine that leaves us feeling overworked, unfulfilled, and stressed. We have permission to choose more and cultivate and build a daily grind that is joyful, impactful, and productive along the way.
Let me introduce you to The Intuitive Workweek
This blog post is part of a 3-part series to celebrate the launch of my new course, The Intuitive Workweek. If you're fed up of feeling unfulfilled, overwhelmed, never good enough, overstretched, underutilised, and like the daily grind just isn’t as dreamy as you hoped it would be, this is for you. Find out more this way!