They will constantly cry over spilled milk and draw as many of their friends as they possibly can into their drama-fueled vortex.
So often, we are blind to the challenges that others face. Comparison is unhelpful, but while you’re crying about a scratch on your Beemer, someone else is getting the news from their doctor that they have cancer.
The question is whether to remain in the drama. And the answer may not be forthcoming until we understand the consequences of a life consumed by “who said what” and “who did that.”
Drama is largely self-inflicted. We all feel emotions, but we also have the choice of what to do with those emotions.
In this video, I share about the dangers of being addicted to drama.
Drama is one of those addictions that holds you back.
You are free to go and enjoy drama if that’s what you want to do. It’s just not going to lead to a stable life, conducive to lasting relationships and personal achievement.
People so often say:
I want to write a book, or
I want to start a business, or
I want to become an athlete, or
I want to become a model
But because they focus so much on the drama, and because they’re so addicted to it, they get into horrible relationships, and then they have friends who also like drama, and before long, they form a drama addicts anonymous group that ends up feeding the monster…
So, you end up in a constant roller-coaster ride that doesn’t support you achieving any of your ambitions.
The test of stability is not whether your life is stable. There will always be things you can’t control.
The test of stability is whether you can maintain emotional evenness even as the world is storming around you.
Do you find yourself waking up every day only to reinvent the wheel creatively?
Or you do you begin your work with an idea in mind? Do you have a structure for your work and tools that help you get it done more efficiently?
Starting with a blank page is ineffective, and it affects your productivity negatively.
And it’s not just writers that end up facing the blank page. All creatives do.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a songwriter, poet, or photographer. If you keep publishing, at some point, spontaneous inspiration will seem to fade. And you will also begin to feel like you’re repeating yourself.
Repeating yourself isn’t necessarily bad. Films, TV shows, and even church services all follow a structure. Familiarity breeds comfort. And comfort keeps the audience coming back because they know they can count on you to deliver something familiar.
It may not be new or innovative. It may not even be good. But it’s familiar, and therefore comfortable.
As creatives and creators, we’re quick to throw out what’s comfortable. It feels kind of icky.
And I have no doubt I’m just scratching the surface. Because in my staff writing duties, there are certain post types I find myself writing over and over, and I could see myself creating templates for them.
I could also see myself organizing more of my notes (especially from my commonplace book) within my LifeSheet.
What could you do to make your work more efficient?
There are many ways to get the job done. But one thing’s for certain – you’re not as effective as you could be if you find yourself starting with a blank page every time you start a new project.
I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of cool things on this journey. That said, I’m not famous, I’m not a household name, I’m not even internet famous…
To be fair, though, hundreds of people have purchased my books (like I said, I’m a best-selling author), and over 1,500+ people download my podcast monthly.
So, if you and I somehow got connected, if my social media posts appear in your feed, if you receive my emails, consider that it’s not by accident, because I don’t. You and I got connected for a reason.
It’s entirely possible that we’ve met at some point and you’ve forgotten about me. Or you don’t necessarily know me for some of the things I do. Or you just came across one of my articles. Like I said, I’ve been at this for many years, and I have had to course correct many times too.
That said, the core of what I do hasn’t changed one iota. If anything, it has gone through some serious refining.
My umbrella mission that trumps all others is to inspire creatives and creators. All projects and initiatives I’ve taken on fall comfortably under that umbrella.
Whether you’ve Googled me, stumbled upon my content, or got connected with me years ago, consider that you’re here to work with me in some capacity.
My friend has been steadily developing his books and courses over the course of the last year or so.
What he’s been able to accomplish in that time is impressive.
He has yet to release his product to the world, though, and deadlines keep shifting as layers are added, technical issues are dealt with, and next steps reveal themselves.
Although not discouraged or deterred, he asked me in all sincerity, “how do I stay sane when there is an endless stack of work waiting for me every morning?”
Truth be known, he posited the question in even more graphic detail.
No Rest for the Modern Creator
Truly, there is no end to the grind. Not when you’re looking to share your message with the world.
Just when you think you’re done writing your book, you enter the editing phase. After that’s done, you need to get a cover designed, write up a compelling description and author bio, submit your content and materials to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (in the right format), wait for them to be approved, and finally your book goes live to the world.
It’s the same with most creative efforts.
A musical album is not done the moment the last note is captured by the sound engineer in the studio.
The music is then edited, mixed, mastered, oftentimes by multiple engineers. Recording credits are collated, and are submitted to the designer, who crafts a beautiful cover for the musical work. These materials are then submitted to a music distributor like CD Baby, along with additional details about the artist. The artist pays for the service, waits a few days (until their music has been submitted and accepted by distribution partners), and only then is their music ready for mass consumption.
And what my friend has been finding is much the same. His book isn’t done the moment he’s put the finishing touches on the final sentence. That’s just the start, especially since he’s looking to create a sales funnel for his offer, which requires some technical expertise.
“Do You Take Breaks?”
My friend asked whether I took breaks during the day. He understands that I am in the same crazy hustle.
For the most part, my work is enjoyable. I do not take many breaks.
I will get away from my devices during walks and meals. Sometimes, I will steal away for a meditation or a little guitar. I will disconnect from work while engaged in learning (reading books or taking courses). And, of course, I will get up multiple times during the day, walk around, stretch, or go to the bathroom.
Then again, I am not new to the game. And I know for a fact entrepreneur Eben Pagan gave a similar answer to mine in an interview when asked if he ever took breaks. He got up, stretched, made tea, went to the bathroom, etc.
Author Jim Kwik asked Will Smith how he was able to achieve so much, and apparently his answer was:
Bite off more than you can chew and start chewing.
Breaks are important. I don’t want to underplay how important it is to take breaks. But it’s important that you find what works for you.
Practices to Keep You Grounded
Okay, but so far, we have only to speak of the problem itself, and talking more about the hustle probably hasn’t done much besides agitate the pain.
I am a big believer in a few practices that keep me grounded. I do not do all of them perfectly. Some days, I skip over them completely.
Nevertheless, I have found these practices to be of immense value. Here’s what they are:
These days, I walk at least 15 minutes per day first thing in the morning. I take deep breaths, absorb the sun (even through the clouds – it’s okay), and just appreciate life.
There are different ways of starting your day, but this is a good one. You can get some blood moving through your body and collect your thoughts. You will be in a much better state to engage in work when you get back.
These days, I meditate about 10 to 20 minutes before bedtime. This ensures that I stay consistent with the practice.
At times, I have meditated quite a bit more than that (up to 85 minutes per day), and when I did that, I often felt a greater connection to my deeper self and benefited more from the healing effects of meditation.
Meditation isn’t just for feeling calm and grounded, though – It carries with it innumerable health benefits. It can even give you a bit of an energy boost. So, it’s worth making time for.
At least once per year, I book a two-week getaway. It doesn’t matter much whether it’s 20 hours away by plane or two hours away by car.
The ideal, honestly, would be to do this twice per year. Especially considering the load us creatives and creators take on.
Most recently, I spent two weeks in Vernon in November. My timing was good, because I managed to get out there just before lockdown measures started ramping up again.
Mindset Hacks to Help You Stay Sane
Thinking differently about our work can also help us remain sane. Here are some mindset hacks that have made a difference for me:
Who not how. As creatives and creators, we sometimes forget to delegate work. There is work we are bad at and don’t enjoy doing. This work can be handled by people who are good at it and do enjoy it.
Focus on the mission. On days when I feel exhausted or worn out, it’s my mission (to inspire creatives and creators) that keeps me going.
Acknowledge and celebrate your wins. Creators often forget to celebrate and end up buying into arrival fallacy. Chances are, you will not know when you have arrived. When something good happens, acknowledge, and celebrate it!
Enjoy the journey. If the journey isn’t enjoyable, then consider that whatever you’re doing is just a means to an end. The destination won’t be of much interest either.
The risk entitles you to the reward. Sometimes remembering that most people aren’t willing to take the risk is a reward all its own. I’m not advocating the comparison game. But entrepreneurs do need to remember that it’s the risk that entitles them to the lion’s share.
There will be something to do today. And more to do tomorrow. And after that, there will still be more to do.
You can’t live a week, a month, or a year at a time. You’ve got to learn to live a day at a time, a moment at a time.
It might appear as though drifting snow is quickly forming an avalanche, but your job is just to put your head down and do the work you need to do today. Nothing more. You can worry about tomorrow when you get there.
Then you start to see there is no avalanche. And if there is, you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Technical problems can be solved. Team members can be hired. Demand can be met.
But that’s too much right now. Right now, just putting that next word down on the page is enough.
I don’t expect all of them to stick. I tend to ditch those that don’t resonate with my audience. I have a feeling concepts like #StrategySunday, YearSheet, and Effectiveness Diagnostic are here to stay though…
Anyway, let’s talk about Weekflow.
Much has been said about batch processing (bulk tasking). If you don’t know anything about it, then reference the Chris Ducker article I’ve linked up for you.
Now, batching is a great way to ensure you have a specific focus for your days. It can help you be more productive overall because it tends to cut down on task switching and unnecessary distractions.
But Weekflow requires that you think strategically about how you’re batching, what you’re batching, and when.
If, for example, you’ve set aside Monday for writing blog posts and Tuesday for editing, formatting, and scheduling blog posts, then you’d need to ensure you don’t have any Monday deadlines you’d miss because you weren’t thinking far enough ahead. To meet the deadline, you would need to write, edit, format, and schedule all on the same day!
It’s critical that you know how one task flows into another (got it?).
Here’s another example. If you have a meeting on Wednesday that you need to prepare for, but your batching efforts don’t leave adequate time to be ready for that Wednesday meeting, your Weekflow is broken.
This is the main issue I’ve seen with batch processing. With Weekflow, you can account for such contingencies and ensure that you’re seeing what’s coming instead of being productive for productivity’s sake.
I log my minutes inside my iPad, using my Apple Pencil
Speculating on possibilities means to brainstorm and consider your options instead of getting hung up on being perfect
Weekflow means to ensure there’s a proper flow and order to your week, like an assembly line
I hope your #StrategySunday questions were answered, but if there’s anything else you’d like to know, be sure to let me know.