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I recently read about a study that concluded stress can promote poor sleep.
In other news, studies show that a healthy diet will help you live longer.
There’s no doubt that poor sleep will wreak havoc on all kinds of stuff, not just your creativity. I remember far too many all-nighters when I did agency work. We’d be there at 3AM, staring at our monitors, and each other, trying to develop concepts. I remember my Creative Director saying, “There isn’t enough coffee in the whole world.” While some people crave this kind of work, I will say it isn’t for me. Personally, I find this the absolute worst time to be creative.
My high school art teacher, Mr. Medford, had a unique approach. He split his class into two groups. The first group may have enjoyed art, but really wanted an easy credit. They weren’t interested in pursuing art as a career. The second group did have plans to make art their career.
The first group had a much easier learning path. Their workload and expectations were lower, but they still had a minimum bar to set. The second group had a high workload and much higher expectations.
Mr. Medford was separating the amateurs from the professionals. And while none of us were making money from our art, it was the mindset he wanted to cultivate.
I was in that second group.
Ask yourself—what group do you want to be in?
For the past few months, my girlfriend has been taking driving lessons (that’s her, above). This was a big step for her, as I know she’s a perfectionist at heart. She admittedly takes mistakes rather hard, but only because she wants to do well. If she had a button to put all the driving skills she needed into her head, she would push it. She also doesn’t want to let me down, which is sweet.
When I worked at an agency, working long hours, nights and weekends was like a badge of honour. There was that terrible game of chicken at the end of the day: Which one of your co-workers would leave first? Those that did—often well after business hours—were “not team players”.
“Productivity isn’t about doing more, faster—it’s about doing the right things, deliberately and with attention.”
– Chris Bailey, A life of Productivity
Most of us are comfortable with developing plans for projects. But how many of us actually think about a life plan? The view from 30,000 feet, as it were.
I’m talking about a personal manifesto.
When I first heard of the concept of a manifesto, I rolled my eyes. I don’t need no stinkin’ manifesto. I know what I’m doing. I jut sit down and do my work, right? The thing is, I had to think really hard about what I believed in. It turned out to be more difficult than I thought, and not silly after all.
I don’t like starting projects.
There. I said it.
In my mind a project is always perfect. But with so many options available, what will be the right course of action? It’s that transition from the perfect project in my mind to reality that’s tough.
There’s another term for this: Analysis Paralysis.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about motivation. For the longest time, I thought that I had to “wait” to feel motivated before I could act. As I’m finding out, it’s a sure fire way to not get much done. How often have you told yourself “I’ll wait for inspiration to strike” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” before starting anything? Before you know it, you won’t have as many “tomorrows”.
When I was in high school, we took a summer trip to visit relatives in Nova Scotia. While there, we stopped by my uncle’s office. In the back room was a huge (to me) drafting table*. It had an adjustable angle drawing surface, a metal pencil tray, and a solid, metal frame with a foot rest. All in all, the Cadillac of tables.