Well I’ve been working as Art Director for Shenandoah for a couple of months now and its going great and for our first project I’m the artist as well as Director which is easing me in gently. But I’ve noticed something over the last week that alarmed me. My productivity dropped like a stone. I just couldn’t get into the zone, couldn’t concentrate for long periods and just wasn’t getting the amount or quality of work done that I expected. We’ve all got colds and bad chests and are generally run down.

Maybe there’s some psychological thing going on were I know Christmas is coming up and my body just starts to slow down.

Maybe its because school’s finished and my wife and son are home. But they know well enough that I’m working and leave me alone so its not that.

Or maybe I’m just exhausted.

The last 18 months has certainly had its ups and downs. Twice we had the stress of literally being within a few pounds of going bankrupt and losing everything. Twice, with the help of family, a lot of good luck and hard work we pulled through. Obviously we’ve not had a holiday this year and being freelance means that even if you’re not earning you still have to be ‘working’ 7 days a week and you can never relax. We just seemed to have constant worry, especially when the work started to dry up. I loved the variety and the people I got to meet but its too unpredictable for a family with a mortgage and bills. I know we’re not alone in this predicament given the financial state of the world but knowing that isn’t exactly a comfort.

So a mixture of hard work, a lot of luck and the generosity of a lot of people has got us through that time but now its caught up with me and the working practices that I got used to are taking their toll.

Working from home is great and I’d recomend it to anyone but you have to be very, very strict with yourself and I’ve fallen into that routine of working all day and night without much in the way of breaks. As my son would say EPIC FAIL!!! I think the longest time I’ve not put a foot outside the house is 3 weeks. It’s ridiculous and I wasn’t even fully aware I was doing it.

Changing habits and routines is never easy so I started looking round for advice .. for some kind of plan or workable approach that I wouldn’t drop within a week. We all know what new years resolutions are like and I needed something simple and easy to maintain.

So after hunting around some simple, common sense articles caught my attention and come the new year and hopefully a refreshing Christmas break I plan to start implementing some of the ideas.

How to accomplish more by doing less

7 things highly productive people do

How to recover your core rythmn

The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less

This one particularly struck a chord as I know its exactly how I function but is completely at odds with most employers. I should be able to take control now and ensure this happens…
How to think Creatively

Four Destructive Myths most companies still live by.

I hope they may be of use to some one else.