The GREY ZONE.
Most self-employed people and entrepreneurs spend a majority of their time there.
You aren’t fully focused and being productive, and you aren’t fully relaxing, rejuvenating or having fun. You are partially working and musing about relaxing, or partially relaxing and musing about working.
That’s the grey zone. (I am so grateful to Eben Pagan for introducing me to this term. It’s just so good to have this named.)
The grey zone is part of the curse-side of the blessing and curse of technology. We now have a 24/7 society with electricity, wifi, and the internet making it possible to be “engaged” virtually around the clock.
So then you think you should be. You have your smart phone, which means that people can text you or Skype you or email you or Facebook you at any time. And you let them. Even when you are sitting down to dinner with your family, maybe, you have your phone there. Either that, or you are thinking about what you could or should be doing – or should or could have already done that day. Then maybe you pick up your phone, and text or skype or email someone, or take a photo and put it on Facebook – because you can.
This is insidious. The other side of it is that when you are working, you are thinking about how your daughter is doing with her friends at school, or what the best way is to get the lowest plane fare for your trip to see your parents, or what you’ll do for your workout this afternoon. So you jump over to Orbitz.com or Expedia.com and cruise for airfares, write yourself a list of what you need to pick up at the grocery store on your way home. Next thing you know, you forgot what you were working on, and have to move between the open windows on your computer to try to find your way back to what you were doing.
If you are spending your days behind your computer, or on your phone or tablet, yet not getting the clients you want, or making the money you want, in all likelihood, you are spending too much time in the grey zone.
What’s to be done? Excellent question!
- First thing is to pay attention to your habits and notice what you are doing.
- Then make a commitment to yourself to be more fully engaged in whatever it is you are doing, rather than falling into a trance. Freud said that we spend about 70% of our time in a waking-dream state. Interesting, right? So it takes focus and intention to be aware and engaged – to be present (as we say in modern spirituality).
- Decide to spend two hours of focused time on the highest leverage activities in your business every day you are working. Make this your number one priority, and then carry this out consistently. (Of course you need to know what the highest leverage activities are for your business.)
- Commit to stopping work at particular points during your day, and especially to fully disengage at the end of your day. Take breaks and train yourself to rest, exercise, meditate, play or otherwise rejuvenate yourself. You will not find this easy at first as your mind will wander back to your work. Consider this a self-care spiritual practice.
- At the end of your day, create a transition for yourself where you clear your mind and disengage yourself from your work. Do something physical, have a reading, change your location, or write in your journal – something that ritualizes your end of workday. Then move away from your computer and your phone and focus on activities and a way of being that refreshes and honors yourself.
- Full engagement with what is most important workwise. Full refreshment and rejuvenation. These are the keys to doubling your productivity and your time off.
Want to know more? Then join me for my no-cost webinar where I’ll go into all of this more deeply. You just need to RSVP.