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How to Channel Your Inner Richard Branson

13/10/2014 14:03 BST | Updated 12/12/2014 10:59 GMT

When we finally break free from the 9-5 something pretty funny happens:

We bring the same habits and routines into our startup, including whatever version of the 9-5 we have been living.

Despite years or months of saying when I start my own thing I'm going to ... it becomes apparent very quickly that some things just stick. And old habits die hard, right?

And this is totally ok because it's not like you're going to wake up the first morning after you quit your job and say: 'Hey, I'm an entrepreneur,' and act like a totally different person.

Which I think is a good thing because you'd miss all the great stuff in between: the-figuring-everything-out, which is frankly the best part.

This is where the explorational, expertimental, experiential stuff kicks in; your new modus operandi as an aspiring entrepreneur.

{Because we can't really call ourselves entrepreneurs just yet; we need to fail first and startup a couple of times before we receive the accolade of entrepreneurship. Fear of failure is the opposite of entrepreneurship. Just FYI.}

As usual I'm in danger of digressing so I'll get back to the point:

Leaning into our own unique rhythm is one of the most exciting things we can do to ditch habit and routine forever.

Because our rhythm is the unique tempo that enables us to thrive.

So think about your routine for a minute.

  • When do you wake up? What do you do before breakfast? What do you have for breakfast?
  • How does the rest of your day unfold? When, where, and how do you work?
  • How do you interact with your environment or location and the opportunities it presents? How do you integrate the other things you want to do?
  • Do you do the same thing everyday? Do you have weekday/ weekend habits?

Don't just think about it; write it down.

Grab a pen & paper or download the worksheet.

And then think about this:

Entrepreneurs don't work Mon-Fr 9-5. They lean into their own rhythm, enabling them to breathe ideas into the world.

Take Richard Branson for example. His natural rhythm is bungee jumping & surprising his Virgin Atlantic crews with surprise getaways. He does not work 9-5.

So let's lean into your rhythm ...

Your Creative Rhythm

This is about aligning with your creative heartbeat. Answer the following questions:

  1. When do you feel most creative? When do your ideas come to you most freely and easily? Morning? Afternoon? 9pm - 3am?
  2. Where are you when your creativity flows most freely? What locations or environments enable idea flow? By the beach? While you're walking? In the shower? Chatting to friends? Reading?
  3. What do you need around you to help channel your creativity? What are your creative tools & muses? Notebook & pen? Music? Sound of the ocean? Café buzz? Space?
  4. How long does your creativity flow for? After how long does it naturally ebb? Short, intense bursts? 25 minute pomodoro rounds? Solid hour blocks? Entire afternoons? Weekend lock-ins?

Grab a pen & paper or download the worksheet.

Your Getting-Sh*t-Done Rhythm

This is about maximising our productivity so we can work smarter, not harder. Streamlining admin, operations and customer support means less time 'working' & more time for our life & art.

Answer the following questions:

  1. When do you feel most productive? When are you most focused and alert to do the things that require mental agility & precision? Morning? Afternoon? Evening? 12pm - 2am?
  2. Where are you when you are most productive? What locations or environments are conducive to absolute focus? Your home office? Co-working space? Library?
  3. What do you need around you focus on administrative or operational tasks? What are your productive tools & muses? Classical music or Focus@Will? Earl Grey tea? Task lists / to-do lists / task or project management systems?
  4. How long does your natural attention span last? After how long does it naturally ebb? Half hour bursts? Solid timed blocks?

Grab a pen & paper or download the worksheet.

Your Lifestyle Rhythm

Re-imagine your day to day by integrating the things you love to do most, and new things that peak your interest & imagination.

  1. What activities energise you the most? What do you really love to do? Think back to when you were a kid. Painting? Jogging? Yoga? Art exhibitions? Being with friends? Kick back on your balcony with a tea {or tinto verano!}?
  2. What is unique about or specific to your environment or location? Check out your local Timeout, Lonely Planet or newspaper listings to find out what goes on in your city. Think of the natural landscape or geographical nature. Mountains? Ocean? Bike paths? Co-working spaces? Ice rinks? Kayaking clubs? Dragon boat racing? Meetups? Farmers markets? Startup culture?
  3. 'I've always wanted to .....' What are the things you've always wanted to do? This is the time to start doing your bucket list. Learn Spanish? Move to Spain? Cooking classes? Learn to surf? Start jogging?
  4. 'If I worked for myself I would ....' What is it you always said you would do if you worked for yourself? Work Mon-Thurs, 10-4?

How can you integrate the above into your day to day?

Grab a pen & paper or download the worksheet.

If you always said you would never again work 9-5, go ahead and create a new, more intuitive schedule that enables you to lean into your most creative & productive rhythms.

  • If you feel creatively charged by a two walk along the beach, then why not do that every day?
  • If your city ranks #3 for startup culture and has a dozen collaborative workspaces where you can meet other creative entrepreneurs, why not try out a membership?
  • If you've always wanted to move to Paris to learn French and play your guitar, then now might be the time to do that.

Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle.

It's not about work. It's about ideas. It's about cultivating our most rhythmic state to allow these ideas to flourish so that we can channel them into our art and our business. Over and over again. Day after day. Year after year.

We can all channel our inner Richard Branson.

It means spending more time in our life and being in the world than sitting in our office.

I'm in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain. The sun comes up at 8am so I am jogging along the Ocean promenade - this is where I'm creatively charged. I'm most productive between 10am-12pm when I hit a local bookstore café; I'm most creative between 3-6 when I hit the beach with my notebook. The city comes alive between 8-9pm when I am wondering the cobbled streets soaking up the atmosphere. I've slowed down a lot in Cadiz. That's what's so special about this place for me. It's my rhythm here.

What's yours?

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Stephanie Holland is a business strategist at StephanieHolland.co, delivering pre-business strategy for more ease, more vision and more likelihood of success. She's on a mission to empower aspiring entrepreneurs with perspective shifts & strategic frameworks that slice through the bullshit, smash upper limits, and minimise guesswork. Grab a free copy of Plan F to get started generating ideas, impact & profit on your own terms.