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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work Writing

Doing honest work

When it’s all said and done, your work’s satisfaction will depend on your level of completeness.

Should your efforts have skirted the task in any way, incompleteness may leave an indelible stain. Let the resistance win and it’ll sow you with regret the rest of your life.

Very few writers know what they are doing until they’ve done it.

Anne Lamott

It’s better to surround yourself with disciplinary practices to avoid laziness and to hinder the appetite for taking shortcuts.

Not to be overly obsessed but an achievement-hungry personality already makes one different than everyone else.

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Productivity & Work

Trust the routine

The writer, blogger, or boxer must always keep in training. The artist or athlete can’t wait for the muse to inject them with productivity serum.

Routine is much more compelling than inspiration, which is fickle, comes in flashes, and rarely sticks.

On the flipside of consistency, is also imperfection. The practician not only faces the resistance, they also face human error.

Showing up every day is one thing, doing it again regardless of the results is yet another habit to develop. All that you are is a result of what you have thought.

Error is human. You need some form of struggle to remind you what needs tweaking. However, when the going gets good, you’ll want to maintain it.

If you’re wondering how you’re going to do it all again tomorrow, build off the confidence of yesterday.

I’ll leave you with this advice from thought leader and psychologist Benjamin Hardy.

Get this clear: confidence is a direct reflection of past performance. Hence, yesterday is more important than today. Luckily, today is tomorrow’s yesterday. So, even if your confidence today isn’t optimal, your confidence tomorrow is still within your control.

Benjamin Hardy
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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

What unlocks you?

A good read, a daily meditation, journaling, a simple contemplation, a trip overseas—it’s the moments of rest and reflection that shape us.

Head down in the sand at the desk at work can be expansive but exhaustive. We need more activities that generate thinking without thinking (as showers do), unmoored from the depths of the laborious ritual. 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Make life new again

The challenge in making life feel new again is figuring how we can copy and combine the observations and artifacts we collect into something that feels original. 

We should lean more into our guidance—everyone knows what they need to do, as long as they are willing to embrace the pain.

Change is on the palette, a necessity no matter how subtle it presents itself. And sometimes it reveals itself only when we step away from the mind virus of excess engagement and overworking.

Tapping into the world around us requires that we simultaneously step away if only for a solid minute, to unlocks the true potential of one’s mind.

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Productivity & Work

The paradox of proximity

So close yet so far. It appears that the closer we are to something: the gym, the pool, a loved one even, we are less likely to invest our time with them.

We avoid what’s closest to us because proximity obviates the need for effort. When it’s too easy, we have a propensity to get stuck in inertia.

Our motivational sweet-spot lies somewhere between opportunity and effort.

Why do anything?

Procrastination is the purest form of idleness. Trading in long-term value for short-term convenience is a lazy compromise.

We shouldn’t need a crisis to wake us up out of our stupor.

We all inherent the same amount of time. Those who get off their ass and jump into the world with aliveness tend to do things that matter.

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Books Productivity & Work Quotes Writing

‘The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it’

'The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it'

“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no resistance.”

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
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Productivity & Work

Doing more begets more productivity

Busy people get more done. Having multiple priorities creates a state of flow.

Hesitation is a preventative form of worry. The chronic overthinker pays the toll of inertia and then frets about the lack of time to get things done.

The most productive days are those in which we go immediately into action, en medias res, with a to-do list baked in our head.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

Bruce Lee 

Of course, busyness is not a badge to wear either.

If we’re going to chase something, it better be something we enjoy. Passion helps empower the grit and absolve the grind.

Doing meaningful work centers us. But for that, we must also take responsibility and choose to do the work every day.

The doing starts before we’re ready. After all, the doing is why there’s knowing.

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Productivity & Work Psychology

Thinking less to do more

Rhythm builds thoughtlessness. Work can become more natural out of mechanical motion, a kind of doing without thinking.

Employees can’t make one hundred sandwiches in a couple hours without silencing the monkey mind. The process of unthinking begets a chorus of action.

Similarly, we can’t dribble a basketball nor soccer ball effectively while focusing on the mechanics of the perfect touch. The gears of cognition get in the way of flow. Continued practice helps numb the disease of crippling doubt.

Habits are bicep curls for the brain

Good habits strengthen human software, primarily if we aim to do something consistently.

Like brushing our teeth, it’s the repetitive locomotion that undermines inertia and compels one to keep connecting the chain.

We can get used to being productive if we choose to make practice non-negotiable. All such preparation helps plow the field.

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Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Inspiration is a myth

All the inspiration exists and is equally distributed.

But the ubiquity of motivational quotes and rags to riches biographies can be sheer fodder. Instead of doing the work, we get caught in the cycle of disattention.

The role of the artist is the create a reality for themselves. We can’t expect to copy and paste someone else’s experience as our own.

Inspirational quotes exist to help is reflect, rewind, and then compel us to push us along. Our mood board is a visual impetus, not an excuse to procrastinate.

The environment is continually changing, with a priori information overwriting the old ways of doing things.

We can always expect our path to be messy, but with the right mentality, our bodies and minds equally resilient.

Scouring the internet for a hit of motivational dopamine is only temporary. It’s the perspiration that has to be permanent.

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Music Productivity & Work Writing

Want to focus? Seek ambient sound

One of the greatest myths of our time is that silence is golden. But complete silence will keep you from working effectively. It may even put you to sleep.

J. K. Rowling left the solitude of her own home to write the Harry Potter series in a coffee shop amid the cacophony of people chatting over grinding espresso machines.

The noisy environment inspired her to get to work. Studies show that just enough sound creates an ambient environment conducive to working by drowning out any other unpredictable racket in the background.

The power of music

Studies also show that learning to play an instrument makes it easier for children to learn how to read. Additionally, the “Mozart Effect” is said to improve concentration and study habits. Surgeons often use popular music during operations to relax both the patient and themselves. Muzak takes the awkward silence out of the elevator.

The right type of noise is critical to working effectively. In fact, many CEOs expect disruptions in the form of email and calls to ensure the business is actively operating. Silence is the antithesis of productivity.

In order to stay motivated and remain productive, we need perpetual sound rather than peace and quiet. Sound is productive. Rather, it is the silence between the notes that can be the most disruptive.

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Productivity & Work

The paradox of messiness

The paradox of messiness is that it can also describe someone who’s extremely productive.

For instance, your desk may be full of sticky notes, cords, and other office supplies and your computer desktop may be buried in a trail of untitled (and empty) folders. But all this frenzy could be a sign of busyness rather than laziness. 

In fact, clutter inspires creativity and it is an essential part of the making process.

We can choose to live uncomplicated lives by keeping it super-tight. But the messy stuff is so much more interesting.

Mark Bradford

This is not to say that creation provides an excuse to be messy. In fact, the act of cleaning up and editing can happen during work.

Figure out which ideas from the past are important and pursue those. Throw out the rest.

Greg McKeown

First, the artist creates disorder to spark further inventiveness — everything goes in the queue — then he or she simplifies their sources saving the most essential materials.

The tendency to hoard everything and do nothing with it is what really clutters the mind.

Like a DJ, one should feel free to remix their craft and sprinkle in new ingredients along the way.