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Arts Creativity Productivity & Work Writing

Writing all the time

Some of us ”sweat the night into words,” the poet Bernard Spencer wrote in his poem “Night-Time: Starting to Write.”

Morning or night, day time or lunchtime, it really doesn’t matter when you write. A note, a recording, a scribble — we write it down to remember it now and for later.

Everything goes in the hopper.

The writer often feels compelled to notice and the readiness to do too much. But that’s part of the scribe’s title, to remain curious and connected to the tone of social mores, stuck in a perpetual now and the now of yesterday.

Writers are collectors, not hoarders. They snatch ideas to remix into something else, a type of innovation of words.

Why write? To make something”

Claude Simon

It is in the prose the writer plunges and finds themselves. The pen is an addiction, a duty, and a stress outlet, and pure enjoyment. It shatters the notion of work and life, swaddled into the need of an aliveness.

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Categories
Life & Philosophy Productivity & Work

Visualizing the practice

Visualize the practice, not the result.

Actions have goals built into them, giving you a better chance at achieving what you want.

Success happens to the idea, not at the force of aim. Because it’s all about the sustained head work and heart work it takes to get there.

“Don’t aim at success-the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greaterthan oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Effort necessitates results. It is a trigger for experiences.

“As you travel through life, let this be our goal: keep your eye on the donut and not on the hole.”— Steven Pressfield

Everything is practice.

art via giphy

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Categories
Apps Music Productivity & Work

The best music to help you focus

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Music is a performance-enhancement drug. There’s a reason athletes listen to songs on repeat to pump them up before games. But music’s effect on studying, writing, or doing office work is equally profound.

Music is known to increase your productivity by sharpening your focus and putting your brain into a flow state. However, it takes the right type of sound to help get concentrate on your studies and work.

A gif of a record spinning with a brain on the vinyl

Always do your best work

Focus@Will offers over 20 channels and thousands of hours of music that are scientifically optimized to help you focus and get stuff done.

Seriously, the app has some serious studies to prove it.

“We ask our users to rate their productivity during each session, and we’ve found that the average productivity in a one-hour focus@will session is 75% – this is far above the productivity most people report in an hour without focus@will.”

I use the Uptempo channel at work when I need to filter out distractions and help push me through reading hundreds of emails. However, I turn on the Ambient playlist with medium intensity when I want to get into a contemplative state to journal or blog.

You’ll be amazed at how a little hum of music can make you more productive. I’m listening to the Cafe Focus channel now as I type this post!

Pick your focus channel to hear a sample

Music = neurological focus power

“Music is part of being human,” Oliver Sacks wrote in Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. And the right music, customized to supercharge your happy work creativity, can make a huge difference in your workday!

I recommend that you give Focus@Will a try on the computer first since it seems to work best when you can toggle between focus channels to find one that fits your work habits. But the complimentary app works just as well.

You can sign up to Focus@Will today and get two free weeks. If you see the increased focus you’re looking for, I suggest leveling up with the annual subscription since it’s ultimately cheaper than month-to-month.

So get stuff done while making better use of your time. Reduce your distractions. Be more creative. Always do your best work. And give your mind the boost it needs.

Get focused, today.

gif by @leonnikoo

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
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 knowing that a positive result won’t yield is yet another habit to develop.

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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Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Psychology

Thinking without thinking 🤔

Thinking without thinking

Work is the practice of gathering string. But it is the empty mind that weaves experience, knowledge, and ideas altogether.

The apple may have hit Newton’s head, but his insights into gravity were brewing all along.

There is no such thing as Eureka, just the gradual harmonization of distilled moments that become apparent when we least expect them to.

We think to get rid of thoughts just like “the blues is played to get rid of the blues.” But we can’t think our way to innovation.

We think most effectively when we turn off the monkey mind and permit creativity to break through the hush of silence. Off is on.

Even when we are not thinking — when we’re relaxed in the shower or doing the dishes — we’re thinking. We are always chewing on context, bringing excitement to the habitual self.

art via giphy

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

Categories
Arts Productivity & Work

Hokusai’s great wave: a lesson in persistence

Can we improve our craft over time?

The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) seemed to think so.

“Until the age of 70, nothing I drew was worthy of notice. At 110, every dot and every stroke will be as though alive.”

He only lived until 89, but he proved his theory of incremental improvement. He finished his most famous work, The Great Wave, at the age of 71. Van Gogh, an artist that only sold one painting during his lifetime–to this brother– remarked: “These waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it.”

Hokusai’s other works also revolve around Mount Fuji in series that became to be called Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. 

Story short: age is but a number.

Life is about continuity. You may have more energy to practice when you’re younger, but the only difference between you and others will be how long you’re willing to stick with it. Hokusai played the long-game, acting like professional with pertinacity.

You can check out the Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave exhibit at the British Museum, London, until August 13th.

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).