Mixing Simple/Complex and Left/Right Brain Activities
Your daily plan will certainly include a combination of simple projects that don't involve much time, and others that are complex and more time-intensive. If you're faced with a big task, like writing a marketing plan or developing a proposal, break it down into more manageable pieces like completing an outline, or developing one section. Decide how much time you can allocate to a piece and get this out of the way first in your day to short-circuit the procrastination response and take advantage of your energy while it's fresh. Then take a break and focus on something easier and of shorter duration. Shifting back and forth between important but difficult tasks and less complex ones will make it more likely that you'll actually get through everything on your list with a lot less effort, and still have energy left over.

Just as you benefit from shifting back and forth between simple and complex projects, you can get an energy boost from shifting between left- and right-brain activities. A personal example is how I shift between writing articles, designing seminars, or doing administrative tasks with designing marketing materials or working on my Web site design. Taking time to dip into creative activities adds inspiration and energy to more logical and mundane activities. If you don't have right brain-type activities on your weekly list, take creative breaks, such as making mind maps of ideas you're working on or even mind-mapping your daily planning list.

Eliminating Time Wasters and Energy Drains
Here are a few of my most "unfavorite" annoyances that eat up valuable time and drain energy:

Poor delegation
Unclear goals
Poor planning and prioritization
Limiting and/or negative attitude
Disorganization and clutter
Procrastination (could be a sign that the task is something that you don't enjoy, involves an undeveloped skill, or both)
Overwork/burnout
Taking on too much at once
Having so much to do that you don't know where to start ("deer in the headlights" syndrome)

Another energy drain and time waster that distracts you from your purpose is the accumulation of little, annoying tasks that easily get put off. These usually fall into a category called "important but not urgent." They can include balancing your checkbook, cleaning your closet, getting the maintenance on your car done, getting your yearly physical and dental checkups. You get the idea. You really realize how much energy it drains when you finally get these done and notice how much lighter you feel.

Taking Breaks
OK, workaholics take note! There is a fine line between focusing on a task to see it through to completion, and doggedly sticking with it to exhaustion. Letting yourself reach the point of fatigue has serious, negative long-term effects on your energy and health. If you pace yourself throughout an intense period of work by taking breaks and doing creative activities, not only will you complete the project with energy to spare, but the quality will be much higher.

Left-Brain Activities are… Right-Brain Activities are...
numerical spatial
sequential non-linear
verbal dimensional
analytic imaginative
logical rhythmic
linear visual
perceptual

Sheila Adams Sapper, MA Organization Development, is a business coach and consultant specializing in business start up and marketing strategies. She has been an entrepreneur since age 20, when she started Sugar Plum Bears, featuring her own design of collector quality teddy bears. Her holistic coaching approach helps entrepreneurs discover and design both life and work that reflects their unique brilliance.


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