Updated: Jul 6
First off, full disclosure here - I'm not a writer. I'm a thinker. I'm a do'er. I'm a branding designer. I'm an entrepreneur. But I have a hard time stringing words together. So what prompted me to write this article, about why my favorite time of day being 6am. Well - it is during that time that the kids (and wife) are still asleep. 6am is my time of solace, where I get to collect my thoughts, catch up on some light reading, get inspired by some Pinterest boards .. but for the most part do absolutely nothing for 1 hour (1 hour and a half if I'm lucky) - and not have to justify it to anyone.
For all of you who are working from home (which I would suspect would be majority of you), will know how your personal life and professional life is inextricably linked. There are no weekends anymore. There are no 9 to 5. Everything is just blended together. I find that it takes me twice as long to get any work done, especially with my 2 year old around - who keep coming to me every 5 minutes asking for candy, or chocolates, or kissing her boo-boo, or wanting to paint (which is just her excuse to get all messy and wet). So just having that one hour of solace is a bliss. I'm far from being a perfect parent, but if it's one thing that 2020 has taught me is that it's OK TO SLOW DOWN and do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. You've earned it. Amidst all the chaos, it's ok to give yourself permission to do less, and relax more.
Relaxing helps, especially when you work in the creative profession. I've been doing just that for 20 years. I'm in the business of selling ideas. I'm in the business of making other businesses look good, be more valuable to more people, and communicate more clearly. The reason why I'm good at what I do, is because I don't like being rushed. It takes time to craft ideas. Be it a logo design, a brand strategy, an integrated ad campaign, or some crazy digital activation / social media idea. People come to me for my thinking - and that's not something that can be rushed. My thinking and creative process takes time: to examine the creative design brief, consume and process new information, and find connections between seemingly disconnected ideas. Sometimes I get hit by a brilliant idea when I'm putting clothes in the laundry. Or making my son a ham-and-cheese sandwich (which only I can make). I don't perform well under tight deadlines. Some people get an exhilarating rush, or "thrive under pressure". Not me. Ideas take time to percolate. 6am is when I brew a fresh cup of coffee (yes I drink Nescafe - and I LOVE IT - so don't judge me). 6am is not necessarily when I start work - but when the gears in my head starts turning. And for that I need a spark of inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere. And the proof of me writing this article is a result of that inspiration that I gained at around 6am.
Two things I read today which inspired me to write this article:
Number 1: My brother Benny Zachariah .. (yes, we don't have the same last names, but that's a long story which I will go into more detail in a later article). He's based out in China (I have no idea what he does for a living except that he works for a World-Bank, and what he does is important and involves lots of big numbers). This year he has decided to take to LinkedIn for his content marketing, and establish his subject-matter expertise. One of the things he wrote in his articles which encouraged me to write was actually a legal disclaimer he wrote at the end. It wrote "Disclaimer: The contents of this work do not necessarily represent the views or policies of .. blah, blah, blah .. In short - views expressed are my own." Those words at the end is what inspired me to write. Everyone has their own individual story and point of view to share - it's what makes you unique. Your story is not someone else's story. Your journey is not someone else's journey.
Number 2: I subscribe to the Marketing Newsletter "Total Anarchy" by Ann Hadley In her fortnightly newsletter (which she writes every two weeks on a Sunday) - she wrote:
The most important part of the newsletter is the letter, not the news. I love her writing style. She says it takes her 8 hours to write a newsletter - and it shows from the quality of her writing. Sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with marketing - but rather life and observation in general. In todays newsletter she shared 3 things that every entrepreneur who has an email audience or followers on social media should do with their e-newsletter:
Quality matters more than frequency. She recommends sending your audience a newsletter every two weeks.
'Write only when you have something to say' doesn't work.
Looking up from your phone is the best way to find things to write about.
And that's what inspired me to write this article at around 6am. Anyway, I will see if I can put Ann Handley's advise to good use. It was towards the end of last year that I started collecting subscribers for my free e-book, "Independent Consultants: How To Brand & Sell Your Expertise". I think I managed to get close to 250 subscribers. After that I haven't really reached out to them, so maybe this is my excuse to do so. Take care - and expect to see another article from me in 2 weeks (and if I don't, then someone please remind me why 6am is my favorite time of day).
Branding & Design Consultant for Small Businesses.
Creative Director & Co-Founder of Rayvn
(Disclaimer: The contents of this article do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Rayvn. The views expressed are my own :).