I marvel at the changes this experiment has already brought about in my life. It hasn’t all been easy, but I think much of it has been healthy.
Today, I’ve organized my thoughts under a few headings, so sit back, relax, have a water kefir, and read on.
The Error of My Ways
In the last two days, I’ve made massive progress with editing one of my forthcoming books (a travelog).
There are a couple of things that became glaringly obvious as I’ve been looking back on my journeys and misadventures from 2022:
- I was not eating healthy. Somehow, I was deluded into thinking I was because I was enjoying what I was eating. But I was eating out a lot. Circumstances dictated it. I was frequently traveling and moving about, I wasn’t always staying at places where I could freely cook meals, and sometimes I was simply too preoccupied to make meals.
- I complained of tiredness and exhaustion numerous times. The impact of bad habits was showing, and I was not noticing!
I have been getting into much better habits this year, opting to get back into working out as early as February. But my eating habits didn’t really change until about September when I finally decided to bring my Instant Pot and Ninja blender with me everywhere I go.
I’ve also got a tote box I refer to as my “Airbnb survival kit,” and it includes teas, powders (protein, collagen, barley grass juice, etc.), teas, some dry foods, supplements, and a few kitchen utensils.
In that sense, I haven’t had a healthy eating streak for more than two months! No wonder I’m in the condition I’m in (though, as I’ve noted before, I’m not deathly ill or anything).
Sometimes, we need to make more thorough examinations of ourselves to get to the root of the issue.
The time that I’ve gained back from reducing fluffy input is either going into my own projects or supporting the people around me. I find myself saying “yes” far more often than I usually do, but since this experiment is about loving myself, others, and the Universe more, it seems in alignment with stated goals, even if stopping to support others interrupts the flow of my day.
Loving others is loving myself, given that we are all ultimately connected.
I am already feeling a sense of withdrawal from my “no porn” policy. Not because I was such a frequent user. Rather I’m becoming more aware of how much media is out there designed to draw my eyes – an album cover, a music video, or even a YouTube thumbnail. If you’ll recall, my definition of porn for the intents and purposes of this experiment is “anything that turns you on.”
It sounds crazy, but until you start abstaining, you don’t notice how much you are being bombarded by titillation and how it feels to disconnect from the constant escape of sexual fantasy.
I figured this would be par for the course, however, and I know that the sense of withdrawal I feel could continue for a while.
I wasn’t expecting immediate results from this experiment. You probably weren’t either.
Yet, the productivity benefits of choosing my inputs intentionally have been simply astounding. It has already been giving me hours of my life back.
Not that I need more to do. My health is my top priority right now, but the extra time I’ve gained back can certainly be allocated to relaxing or healthy habits like reading and meditation.
I think the explanation for the productivity benefits could be quite simple. When you aren’t spending hours flipping between Netflix and YouTube, trying to figure out what to watch, and gradually, aimlessly rotting away until you finally fall asleep, you tend to have a lot more time. And when you have more time, you start to fill it with creative activities.
After all, with this experiment, I’m not allowed to watch fluffy entertainment (okay, I admit it – I did watch JonTron’s Halloween special yesterday – but that was really it). I’m limited only to books, podcasts, and videos that inspire, uplift, or inform.
It’s funny what happens when you are left with fewer choices than normal – you tend to get bored faster.
This, combined with the fact that the internet was out for a couple of hours last night turned out to be the perfect cocktail for massive progress.
But what exactly did I get done last night? Try the following:
- I answered my Instagram DMs. This has never been much of a priority for me. But I had time, so I got through them.
- I played and sang a few of my songs. I hate to admit it, but I usually only do this when I’m preparing for a show or recording session.
- I made some progress with a new composition. I’ve been working on this new piece since September, on and off. Last night, I added about eight bars of music to it.
- I edited half of one of my forthcoming books. Yes, I got through a little over half of it!
- Maybe I really do have time for my emails after all. Sorry for keeping you waiting!
- Maybe I really can spend an hour or more working on my books daily. That would help me get several over to the “finished” pile faster.
- Maybe I really can spend more time working on my music.
- Maybe I really can plan, organize, and put on an incredible live music and multi-media event in January (which is my current project).
I’ve been AWOL now for almost two months, so I thought it was high time I caught you up to speed.
As early as June / July, I knew I needed to take a break / holiday / vacation, whatever you want to call it. A getaway, sure, but more than that, time to lay in bed and do nothing.
I had plans to visit Seattle with friends in mid-August, so I dovetailed that little getaway into a two-and-a-half-week break upon returning to Vancouver.
But I have officially been back at “work” now for a couple of weeks.
In the last six days, I travelled from Vancouver to Calgary, played a gig, got together with family, had some project-related conversations with collaborators and stakeholders, and travelled back to Vancouver. And as you can imagine, I haven’t had time for a heck of a lot more than that in the preceding week.
How I’m Doing
The two and a half weeks on holiday were much needed, but I did not feel fully recharged afterwards.
There could be any number of reasons for that. For the time being, I’m planning to do a cleanse, but if my energy levels remain low, I will see a doctor also.
I’ve also got floaters in my eye from God knows what, but I’m not too worried about that.
Where Things Are At
I haven’t published anything anywhere for about four weeks (aside from tweets or guest posts). Now that’s an oddity for yours truly. Usually, you can’t shut me up!
Partly it has been a matter of pig-headed discipline. I’m more focused on getting Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook done than just about anything else, and honestly, I can’t think of a more “Big Domino” project than that at this time.
Another factor is my workload. Admittedly, there haven’t been many changes to it, but writing the equivalent of a quarter of a book per week (15,000+ words) does keep me very occupied. And while I do foresee a transition coming, for now it’s fair to say my plate is close to full.
Even then, you know that I’m not the type to sit around and wait for things to happen. Quietly in the background, I’ve been working on:
- Gradually gathering all the clips, I want to share in episode 300 of The New Music Industry Podcast (this has taken far longer than I ever expected it to, even though I knew it was going to be a big project).
- Making massive progress with the Productivity, Performance & Profits Blackbook.
- Recording podcast episodes as ideas come to me. I’ve captured 45 episodes since May (yet unpublished).
- Planning a live event for January and meeting with my team weekly to discuss the project. I’m actively having conversations about this project outside of our weekly meetings too.
- Creating and dreaming up a ton of offers for Content Marketing Musician, which I plan to make my primary brand moving forward, though I have a few things left to do with Music Entrepreneur HQ. You heard it here first!
- Figuring out how to leverage YouTube to the maximum extent possible.
- Planning my next music release.
Mostly the above – the book, the event, YouTube, music release.
You should expect to start seeing more content from me as well but understand that the projects I’m now engaging in require more from me than your average 500-word blog post. So, while I’m not ready to set expectations just yet, I will be sure to keep you in the loop as to what’s coming next (hint – maybe a new podcast?).
Thanks for reading.
Over the course of the last three years (almost), I’ve enjoyed the exercise of publishing daily.
I took a bit of a break between May and August 2022, but aside from that, I have been writing and posting fresh, daily content since July 2020.
I’ve learned a great deal in that time, such as the fact that:
- Publishing daily will land you some opportunities. But as with anything else, there are no guarantees.
- Once it becomes a habit, it’s much easier to maintain.
- It’s a great way to write a book.
- Documenting life events makes it easy for you to go into your archives and find those times you burned out, created a new homepage layout, went on a getaway with friends, and much more. Any time you need to recall specific events, dates, and times, you can refer to your archives.
I have not lost interest in publishing daily. But I’ve recognized the importance of producing and publishing strategic content, more than ever. And I admit it is much harder to be strategic about content creation when you’re under the gun to produce daily, even though you squeeze out the occasional search-optimized post.
Ranking in search only becomes harder by the day, though, and while the impact of A.I.-generated content remains to be seen, it does make mediocre writers redundant, and soon, it may make most podcasters redundant as well.
I am busier than ever as a writer, and that’s the opposite of what I thought would happen with the emergence of tools like ChatGPT, but I’m mindful that there are no guarantees that demand will continue to maintain or increase.
To be more strategic, I have:
- Done my keyword research.
- Created a content calendar with at least a month planned.
- Made notes of content opportunities I’ve come across.
- Decided to make video content my priority above all else. This is my primary YouTube channel.
- Decided to dedicate more energy to finishing the seven or eight some-odd books that are nearing completion.
When all is said and done, you may not notice a huge difference in output on my part. I may still post the occasional life update or spontaneous news. But I have decided to put an end to the insanity cycle I have been in. When something doesn’t work for a long enough period, you’ve got to adapt and try something else. And, I have been pivoting faster than ever.
I can’t imagine too many people will be disappointed by this change. But you’re always welcome to let me know.
Everyone is obsessed with more views and more engagement.
The funny thing is that, as I’ve been saying all along, more views or comments don’t necessarily lead to better marketing or business results.
Check out the James Schramko YouTube channel. You’ll see that the podcast episodes on his channel get, on average, 50 to 100 views.
Yet I happen to know for a fact that his business makes eight figures annually.
To get his results, you would need to obsess over what your target customer is looking for and creating it, not on better ways to get more eyeballs on your content.