With starting a business or project it takes a while for the momentum to build. At one of the places I work the projects have started to pick up, we are getting some great wins. Thankfully! It feels like we’ve reached the top of the latest climb and it’s flattening a bit.
It’s been a a big lesson for me in letting go. We let go on both projects, were open about our position and vulnerable. Magically it gave people the space to give their input and ideas. To lend a hand.
“We over estimate what we can do done in a day and underestimate what we can get done in long term”
Tim Ferriss and Derek Sivers
Great article by Jeremiah Dillon on managing your time.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent van Gogh
This brilliant article by Steven Poole on the Cult of Productivity really hit the nail on the head for me.
I’ve reached my productivity theory tipping point. I stumbled upon another productivity-esque blog and a wave of dread went over me. Not another thing to add to my ever growing list of “productive habits!”
Not another thing that’s recommended! Not another thing I’ll feel guilty about not doing!
As Steven says it’s everywhere. Everyones talking about it, governments, businesses, adults, kids….
“People boast of being busy and exhausted and eagerly consume advice from the business-entertainment complex on how to “de-fry your burnt brain,” or engineer a more productive day by assenting to the horror of breakfast meetings.”
Think of all the 10 effective strategies for (insert productivity here) that are out there.
We are constantly working, preparing to get work done, having productive down time or reading about how to be more productive.
Work hard now so you can relax when you retire.
“Exercise,” advises one business magazine feature. “It makes you more productive.” In a perfect world, you would be getting exercise while you work—standing desks and even treadmill desks are sold as magical productivity enhancers.”
My friend had some great advice. She said we need to realise that there are no absolutes, just other peoples projections.
Finding and sensing what works for you is key. We’re all different, all have different lives. Some days you just feel like doing nothing. And that’s alright!
I love all these productivity things, find them quite interesting. But if I did them all I would have no time. As Steven writes-
“All that time saved by knowing the exact location of the baseball cap you want to wear will surely add up, earning you hours more freedom to hunt and hoard ever more productivity tips, until you are a purely theoretical master at doing nothing of value in the most efficient way imaginable.”
It’s time we rethink this cult of productivity and start taking proper time to ourselves…. and not for the sake of being more productive (check out my post on making time).
I was doing a storyboarding workshop with a couple of teenagers in Glasgows southside. Both girls were passionate about art and brilliant artists. We got chatting about what they want to do after high school. .
“I am going to study art at college” said one girl,
“I want to study childcare” said the other
“Really? But you love art” her friend was surprised
“Yeah if I study it it’ll become work. If I do it on the side it’ll still be fun”
It got me thinking again about “following your passion” (see my previous blog post). This is the mantra that the millennial generation, my generation, has grown up with. Love what you do.
Most of us are looking for job satisfaction.
As documentary PressPausePlay explores, we have more opportunities than ever before. Look at how the internet has democratized access. Anybody can be a director, filmmaker, artist, musician, entrepreneur, and expert….
Yet it’s even harder to be HEARD.
Yet we seem to be no more satisfied than any other generation. There is now such a thing as a quarter life crises.
Steve Jobs is probably the most famous advocate for doing what you love. In his Stanford Commencement speech he encourages
“You’ve got to find what you love, don’t settle”
Do what you love = success
We now think that if you do what you love, you will be happy, you will be a success. With that comes enormous pressure.
Unlike on the x-factor where everyone knew they wanted to be a singer when were 3, few us have an epiphany moment.
Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have a preexisting passion, and b) if you match this to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job
….Excitement comes and goes. True passion arises after you’ve put in the long hours to really become a craftsman in your field and can then leverage this value to really have an impact” Cal Newport, the minimalists.com
Cal Newport encourages us to rethink the idea of following your passion.
The version of success we see all the time is
– The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
Success is also
– The achievement of something, desired, planned or attempted.
The key here is to attempt. Try.
“Most people are so scared to loose they don’t even try” Kanye West.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” Winston Churchill
It means being vulnerable. You might fail. But there is a beauty in vulnerability.
It means being open and honest.
It means finding your voice.
(“Just be yourself,” another millennial mantra)
“Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you have an opinion you must say it and take the flack for it” Tony Benn, Last Will and Testament
If like me you constantly want to be liked, this is easier said than done.
The great news is that you express your voice by producing. Make as much stuff as you can, make stuff that makes your friends go wow. This blog is one way to produce, to express my honest ideas, opinions and thoughts.
Don’t know what to do? You just have to begin. Find things that you’re drawn to, things that frustrate you.
Keep going, it’ll come to you (that’s what they all say).
Time + doing= mastery
“To find success there is to find your own path, only way to find that path is to act, to start going” Casey Neistat, Tim Ferriss Podcast
“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love….
….. what you should not do, I think is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world” Paul Graham, How to do what you love
“Get out of your own way, as soon as your ego gets in the way, and you go I don’t know if I know what to do next, you’ve already put “I” in front of it and blocked it a little bit.
…..Not knowing what’s gonna happen, but you trust it’ll be there. That when you put the brush on the canvas it’ll know where to go. The trust comes first.
…. It’s not gonna come for you if you just sit there waiting for it to happen. You have to act. As soon as you step forward even a little bit it starts sweeping you away.” Robert Rodriguez on Tim Ferriss podcast
I love interviews and biographies and I’ve have found that the common thing between so many people we perceive as “successful” is that they are attempting to make the world better in some way.
However there are no two people in the same position in the same field that had the same journey. After all we all have different starting points! It’s often a series of seemingly random decisions. That’s the good news and the bad news. So how do we know which decisions are right.
“Instinct and ideas. That’s what it’s all about” John Carpenter on the Directors Chair.
Trust your instinct and move on them, make decisions, with incomplete information. No one knows the answers. There are no answers. Again PRODUCE>
Cultivate your instinct. This needs us to be present and be open. It’s challenging in our current culture of distraction. Taking time, even a few moments a day, for “you” can work wonders. Whatever suits, journaling, meditating, praying, exercising…
<Producing means you can get good at being you.
You don’t have to be unique; you don’t have to be special. You have to be “you.”
And your “you” isn’t one thing all the time.
“Life is about integrating different parts of yourself and finding you authentic self. Your authentic self has a lot of dimensions.” Isabel Guerrero
Being our authentic self is probably the hardest thing we can do.
It’s the most liberating thing we can do.
I’m on the quest to produce, find and amplify my actual self. I don’t know how the journey will go, but join me if you wish 🙂
For more reading, watching and listening here are my favourites!
(That’s enough thinking for one day!)