I recently did a webinar on social media marketing. It had some compelling stuff, and I was furiously writing down notes. As it concluded, we got the obligatory “Sign up now for a limited time discount on our program”. I was pretty damn close to hitting that buy button, but I asked myself—when does research become procrastination? I’m sure I would have gotten some good insights, but it felt like a cop-out.
I’ll admit it’s hard for me to stop being a perfectionist. I recently finished painting the interior of our home. That meant a lot of spot-fixes for dents and holes. Most were pretty obvious. It was the smaller ones that I got hung up on. I found myself fixing ever smaller imperfections. It got to a point where I turned off the lights and shone a flashlight sideways onto the wall to spot them all.
When I got into this whole lettering and illustration thing, I knew I would have to invest in a decent input device. A mouse is the worst thing ever for illustrating—unintuitive, and a sure recipe for carpal tunnel. I started researching different input products.
I had used pen tablets in the past. In fact, I owned one of the first Wacom pen tablets—the ArtZ, back in the early 90s. It was a pretty exotic piece of equipment, and needed frequent re-calibration. It was also prone to failure, and eventually broke down completely. After it was out of warranty, it went into the trash can (hey, this was before electronics recycling).
In the years since, I’ve only ever owned one other pen tablet, a Wacom Bamboo. I remember picking one up at Computer City (remember them?). That one, too, stopped working. This sure doesn’t sound like a resounding success story for Wacom quality—at least their older products.
Computers and digital devices still haven’t been able to completely replicate the classic drawing experience. They’re getting closer, though.
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
The obvious answer is to look back on your earlier work, and compare it to what you’re producing now. You could also ask your mom, but you know she’ll say “That’s nice, dear” (because that’s what moms do).