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4 Ways Adult Coloring and Your Business Are Alike

How Adult Coloring Parallels Business

Coloring books for adults have exploded as a trend – you can find them everywhere, even in the grocery checkout line. They’ve even published research on the benefits of adult coloring.

Over the last two years, I’ve begun coloring again, too. Partly because of my kids, and partly as a tactic for stress relief. Until recently, most people would laugh when I’d tell them I like to color, but thanks to the new trend, they now nod in agreement. In fact, coloring is more than just a relaxing, stress relieving exercise for me – I find it parallels business in a lot of ways.

Every stroke counts. When you’re coloring, you can’t easily erase. Every stroke you take needs to be in the lines, every move has to count. If you color outside the lines, you have to come up with a creative solution to fix your misstep – often by just coloring more until you are happy with the results.

The same goes for your business. Every move you make counts and has impact, and when you mess up, you have to be ready to find a creative way to solve the problem and still achieve a desirable end result.

Mix it Up. When I first started coloring, I played it safe. My water was blue, trees green, sun yellow. Even with abstract patterns, I would stick to the same standard colors. Then, I was given a pack of 64 vibrant colored pencils. At first, I still played it safe with the same colors, but then I added a second shade of blue to my water. Then I became more daring, making skies red and purple, trees orange, and suns green. Occasionally I wouldn’t like the result, but most of the time the new combinations were refreshing, making the activity more fun, challenging, and rewarding.

When your company gets in a rut, sticking to the same routine or doing something because “that’s the way you’ve always done it,” it’s time to mix it up. Don’t get stuck – bring in an outside, fresh perspective or look at your project from a different angle.

Always Look at the Big Picture. When I color, I define the big picture first – deciding what and where the main colors will go, coloring them, and then finalizing the smaller details. When I did the opposite and started at a granular level, I never felt as though I had a solid plan, and I was dissatisfied with the final image more often than not.

In business, the details can be very important, but if you don’t understand the big picture or have a solid plan of attack in place, your project can fail before it begins. Figuring out the basics before getting granular can make or break a project. It’s actually the opposite of the popular idiom “start small.” You should start with the big picture whenever possible.

A Second Look Can Do Wonders. Often I color when I’m tired – it’s the end of my day, and I don’t want to look at a screen anymore, so I take a coloring break. Later, when I revisit my previous coloring job, and I realize how messy or lazy my attention to detail was. The shading is off, I’m crossing over the lines. At this point I’ve forgotten that every stroke counts, so I find myself adding to a previous color to fix my mistakes – but the end result is much cleaner and satisfying.

Occasionally the fast-paced business world causes us to rush or not give our work the attention it deserves. Take the time to give everything you do a second look – go back and re-read the email, review that proposal, or practice that presentation. You’ll end up making better decisions and have better final results.

Can you think of any other ways coloring parallels business? Download our FREE coloring pages, color them, and hang them in your office!


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Guest Post by Kate Jones

Kate Jones

Kate co-leads the team at MB3. As a long time Account Exec, she has managed a variety of clients, from local Mom and Pops to giant Global Brands, working on both planning and creative sides. With more than 15 years of experience in both traditional and new media, Kate offers a holistic view and elevates client conversations from a simple site to robust piece of a client’s marketing plan.