Normally we think of content as a planned process of communication; with a key message, call to action and Google ranking in mind.
But writing content for ourselves can help in so many ways. Never more so than in the unsettling times we now face.
What does putting pen to paper do? Unlike typing, the physical art of writing is so much more creative and mindful, and without the distractions of social notifications and inboxes.
We’re told that the current lockdown presents the perfect opportunity to pause for breath and turn our attention to those business areas long neglected such as:
- getting our websites in order;
- being more active on social;
- extending our LinkedIn network;
- getting to grips with the latest technology; and
- taking a hard look at what’s working and what isn’t in our businesses.
With so much to consider and so much out of our control, in some ways it’s more comforting to turn to ‘maintenance only’ mode: sitting tight until things return to normal. The most resilient businesses are, however, the ones that are already doing today what will help them to thrive tomorrow; be it repurposing their production lines or premises to meet the immediate medical and social demands of Covid-19; building goodwill with the local community through donations and access to free resources; or building their online following.
Yet being overwhelmed makes it difficult to know where to start in making headway. The adage ‘How do you eat an elephant? In manageable chunks’ is a sound approach for those who are tempted to throw themselves in all directions, and who risk burnout as a result.
Writing down different activities on separate pieces of paper is a useful mindful activity in compartmentalising the areas you want to address. It also creates structure.
Areas to consider:
- If you were to start your business again, what would you do differently?
- Is it time to review which products or services to expand or retire?
- How are you faring compared to your competitors, both before and during lockdown?
- Do you have the skills you need within your business to remain competitive? If not, how can you develop them?
- How is your business perceived, and is this how you would want it to be?
- Are you regularly communicating with your customers and are you clearly demonstrating your ability to adapt to the current challenges?
- Is it time to find and engage with a new ‘tribe’? In other words, those in your industry or community who are facing the same issues and where collaboration might help to weather the storm?
‘Doing business’ in the traditional sense may not be available to some of us at the moment but ‘doing’ in terms of planning and strategy, and playing your part in the local community, will help you hit the ground running again when the time arrives.
Once you have your list of goals, it’s easier to pick out the ones that are priority or where there might be dependencies. It will also help you reflect on how you’re currently spending your time, eg is time spent on social helping you achieve any of your goals (business or otherwise) or is it simply adding to any anxiety?
Committing something to paper acts as a contract with yourself. Research shows that those intentions that are transformed from internal thought to a physical presence on paper not only seem more achievable; they are actually more likely to be achieved.
Thinking through a problem
For the anxious mind, catastrophising thoughts literally gain more and more ugly momentum. The more you’re aware of them, the harder they are to push away. Often described as ‘rock to resolution’, writing down what the actual problem is and then thinking of the steps or actions you might take to address it not only creates a physical distance between you and the problem; it helps to defuse its power.
Busy lives rarely find the time to acknowledge gratitude. It may currently feel like our lives are on hold and we may never get back to what we hold dear. But there’s a lot to be thankful for in the here and now. Getting into the habit of writing down only three things every day for which you’re grateful helps to balance out more negative thoughts.
This too will pass
When you’re in the midst of bad times, it’s hard to conceive they will ever end. Regularly writing down thoughts and returning to them at a later date will remind you that the same feelings you’re overwhelmed by now may well be the same feelings you’ve experienced before. Reflecting on previous problems, and more importantly how you overcame them, serves as a reminder that all moments eventually pass and that you’re more resilient than you think.
We’re in it together
‘Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, “What! You too! I thought I was the only one.’ C S Lewis
There are thousands of businesses and individuals facing the same concerns. Working through your own worries and sharing them is not only personally therapeutic; it can be a great comfort to others in knowing that their fears are your fears. We are, after all, stronger together.