If you’re like many creatives, you probably find yourself struggling with productivity. I know I do. Some days, it’s painfully difficult to get “into the zone” and start creating. And quite often, it’s not for lack of inspiration, but focus.
Maintaining focus is key to achieving the kind of productivity you strive for—and it’s something that’s become increasingly difficult in our distraction-plagued first world. I’ve already had to spend most of my morning fighting off Facebook and Instagram. If you’re anything like me, this is a daily struggle, and so I want to share a few tips I’ve been using to help enhance my focus.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve finally started dipping my toes back into the pool of writing fiction. I’m finally developing a story idea into a real book after more than a year of “absent creativity”—and at last, I had a revelation: my creativity hadn’t really been gone; it had merely been asleep, recharging.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a novelist. I would sit in my room at my desk for hours, plotting, writing, editing. The “life of a writer” consumed me. This was all I ever wanted: for it to be me, my characters, and my world. And of course, one day, a best-selling novel. But things didn’t quite work out that way.
We live in a world that is constantly pushing for more—for us to do more, give more, or be more. As high achievers, this is a natural tendency, and a great trait. Aspiring to do and achieve your best is not something to be ashamed of, but today I want to talk about one little word that’s sometimes so hard for us to say: No.
In 2016, my focus was on generosity. I wanted to give more freely to more people. Now don’t get me wrong—generosity is a phenomenal trait with many benefits, and one I think we should all learn to cultivate. However, I made one mistake: I never said no.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a perfectionist. I’ll often spend more time analyzing my work than I do actually working. (Oh hey, I’m doing it right now with these opening sentences. What a great start.)
If you’re a perfectionist, don’t feel bad. You have great qualities, such as diligence, loyalty, and a desire for excellence. We need people like you and I in this world, but as perfectionists, we’ve got to learn how to manage our gifts, lest they become a hindrance.
Deadlines kinda suck, don’t they? (There’s a reason they aren’t called “alivelines”.) They can bring a lot of stress to your work and cause you to doubt yourself, but the good news is—they don’t have to be scary.
After blogging for a couple of years, I’ve grown accustomed to working with deadlines. Every week, I know I’ve got to write two articles; it’s just the way things are. And it’s not always easy. So today I want to share some productivity hacks I’ve learned to help you meet that next deadline.
We all have those days, right? The days when we feel anything but creative, and instead end up exhausted, burnt out, and unmotivated. I’ve had quite a few of those days recently, and they’re tough. It’s hard to get past the dead-zone and get to work.
Feeling unmotivated is one of the most frustrating and discouraging things we face as creatives. I mean, we want to do our best work, after all, don’t we? So what’s the problem? What’s causing this void in the creative well?
Have you ever sat down to create something and found yourself comparing your work to that of others? Maybe they have an incredible eye for photography, or a beautiful way with words that inspires readers like nothing else. Maybe they’re super charismatic. Maybe they have a larger following than you do.
Comparison. We’ve all done it. Some of us fight it every single day. But others don’t fight it at all; instead, they let it swallow them up and kill their creativity. They allow themselves to wither and suffer in a pain of their own making. Comparison destroys art before it is even created.