Guide Begin with Productivity (My Art Career Book 1)

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However, I saw another drop in productivity weeks after that. It meant I needed to tweak my medication. Now, I can spot the symptoms fairly quickly. I use RescueTime mostly to track my social media use, which has been the bane of my existence for years. It makes you vulnerable to compulsive behavior. The reality of my habits was right there in my face and I was horrified.

I can talk to my readers and promote projects without going overboard and using up all my creative mental energy before I even get to the drawing board! I also love the RescueTime pop-ups that remind me of my goals and the daily and monthly goals charts. Then I set moderate goals and trained myself to work up to them, which took about 60 days.

Your mind can just wander off, and you lose track of things. While I know a lot of my improvement is due to medical treatment, I believe I would not have been as proactive about keeping up on health issues without RescueTime to track it. This summer, my Design and Composition hours dropped to only I got to the doctor because I could see what was happening on a chart.


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In November, that jumped again to More than double! However, even with the improvement, I could see I was having health issues again. My distracting time started to creep up and my work hours started to trend down. I went to the doc and sure enough, my levels were slipping out of whack. My social media use has also plummeted.

I showed over 55 hours one month but am now down to about an hour a day, which is still too high. So many people market apps for go-getters and high-end producers forgetting that there are people out there with particular life challenges like chronic illness that can benefit greatly from the structure RescueTime provides. We both went through a long period of confusion over why our work output was dropping before we were able to get medical help.

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You put up with a lot of rejection and criticism, and if you internalize that, it can mess you up. I try to surround myself with positive people and limit online activities. You have to limit negativity and exposure. However, you should never sell your passion cheaply just because people tell you to make art out of love.

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You have every right to enjoy the benefits of what you create. Passion will carry you through the times you need to keep producing to learn your craft. Even long-time professionals have to learn new skills to keep up with the market. Never feel like having to practice makes you less of an artist.

It just means you have a second job, like lots of other people.

Be ruthless about marking time for your art and never forget why you became an artist in the first place. Carry that joy with you no matter what life throws at your art and you will always be an artist. We all go through changes that require new habits, new goals, and to relearn what it means to be productive. To find out more about her and her work, check out her website or follow Colleen on Twitter. Want to learn more about spending your time well and doing more meaningful work?

Get our latest blog posts in your inbox every week. Jory MacKay is a writer, content marketer, and editor of the RescueTime blog. What a great read! And when you accumulate enough bad work and bad decisions, you actually unintentionally create more work for yourself.

So you go from working for diminishing returns to working for negative returns. This happened to me when I started working on The Subtle Art.


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I mean all of it. When I eventually went back to revise the chapter a few weeks later, out of those 8, words, there were maybe that were usable. The problem is that it took me four days to sort through all the garbage, re-write the few parts that were salvageable, and make the decision to delete the parts that just sucked.

The Most Important Task Method (MIT)

This was a huge realization for me. When it comes to creative work, not only is there a diminishing return, but at a certain point, writing more produced a negative return. Eventually, after months of frustration, I began to notice that most days, everything I wrote in the first hours was great.

Get it together and manage projects the right way.

It needed little revision and usually fit quite well with the message I was trying to go for in the book. Everything written between hours was mixed. Pretty much everything beyond hour number four sucked. Past that, any writing I attempted had negative returns and I was strangely better off playing video games or something.

But I tried it. And my god, did the book just shoot out of my fingers like my undiscovered Jedi powers. I banged out a new draft of the book in two months flat. My guess is that most creative work operates on a negative returns curve. If you always need to be on point, then whenever your energy or mood slips, you might actually end up repelling customers, costing you potential long-term profits.

Every business, job, or project has what I call a leverage point that instantly makes everything else you do more effective. If you work in face-to-face sales, it might be spiffying up your appearance and learning how to understand your customers on an emotional level. This bank which shall remain nameless had a very specific procedure for a certain type of data entry that involved software as old as my mother and a totally backwards-ass way of inputting the data. It made the entire process mind-numbingly slow.

Essentially, the bank had created what I call a deleverage point—work that made all other work slower and more difficult. You love it more than your spouse and your kids. Now, imagine you roll yourself out of the restaurant, and then someone comes up and offers you some fresh samosas and chutney or maybe a thin mint.

How would you feel? See, solving problems is like food for your mind. It makes your mind happy. It makes it feel important and worthy and capable—all things directly linked to happiness. But solving problems is to your mind as food is to your stomach. It needs a variety of stimulation and too much of one kind will cause it to get sick and tired.

When I started my business in , I was a bona fide work-a-holic. I was pulling hour days and rarely taking days off. I, of course, was horrified. It was like asking someone to leave the house without their right arm. I spent that first night in a fetal position, shaking. I had dreams where my website was hacked and my identity stolen and there was nothing I could do. I imagined the web servers spontaneously bursting into flames at the same time my bank accounts were being drained. In fact, what happened was the complete opposite. Sitting there on that beach for five days, with no phone, no computer, no electronics — just me and a wonderful woman and my thoughts, I began to see my own work more clearly than I had ever seen it before.

It was as if I had spent five years huddling over my business, scrutinizing and obsessing over every part and detail, and then hopping into a hot air balloon, and gliding so high above that I could see the whole thing with more perspective than I ever had before. And it was on that beach that I came up with two ideas that would change my life. The first was changing this website to markmanson.

Within six months, traffic increased 5-fold and my income 3-fold. The site would soon be read by millions of people, shared in over countries, and get me published in some of the most prestigious publications around the world. And this would all happen while doing fewer hours of work than I had been doing before. Whereas I had spent years trying to grow my website through sheer willpower and time commitment, it was by letting go of what was not working that my business took off without even needing me in it half the time.

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Art works: how art in the office boosts staff productivity

See my privacy policy. Because see, this may surprise you, but not all work is created equal. Work as a linear function Most of us, for most of our lives, conceptualize work as a linear function. Four hours is twice as productive as two hours is twice as productive as one and so on.