Here we go. Three Steps to Maximizing Your Productivity and Happiness
If I were to trim this post down to only one piece of advice, this would be it. Time is the currency with which we purchase our experiences. These experiences eventually build up into what we call our lives. How we leverage time determines what we do with those experiences (productivity) and how we feel about them (happiness). Therefore, the use of our time is directly related to our level of productivity and happiness. The more intentional I am, using time to my advantage, then the more productive and fulfilled I often feel.
This does not necessarily mean scheduling out every moment of every day. I, for one, find that having a set schedule increases my ability to leverage time. Others may find a schedule too constricting and need to be left open for spontaneous bursts of genius. This is fine. Being intentional doesn’t necessarily mean planned out. Being intentional with your time only means one thing, be intentional. Even if this means you are intentionally unintentional. Learn to leverage your time to work the way you want it to, and you will see a smile on your face and lines through the projects on your to-do list.
It sounds obvious, but learning from the best can be a vital tool for becoming the best. When you look at those who are at the top of their field, especially in the creative realm, most masters of craft are creatures of habit. They have mastered this idea of being intentional, not only with their time, but with the environment, relationships, diets, and routines. Maya Angelou wrote from a rented out, empty hotel room every day. Beethoven took long walks with pen and paper in hand each afternoon. Author Seth Godin, writer of a dozen best selling books, eats the same thing for breakfast every day. By establishing routine in their work, these artists alleviate the need for unnecessary decision making. What replacing decision making with habit does is it gives our brains a break, allowing us to allocate more brain power towards work that matters.
But what about the second part? Be yourself.
Learning from others does not mean copying others. Some folks work best in the morning, some are night owls. Just because Tim Ferriss wrote his three best-selling books in the middle of the night while watching Casino Royale on mute doesn’t mean that’s exactly how you should do it too. The only thing effective, productive artists have in common is that they are effective and productive(as a result of being intentional). There is no one-size-fits-all formula for cultivating a productive and happy life. Learning from others opens up our minds to new possibilities, but above all, we must be true to what is most effective for us.
Once again, it seems obvious, but don’t expect it all to happen overnight. Discovering a routine that leads to maximum happiness and productivity is a lifelong journey. One that I am only just starting myself. Along the way, you will find that certain things that used to work for you just don't do the trick anymore. Don't be afraid. Dump them, and adapt. Make as many tweaks and changes as you need. The important thing is to stick to it, and never give up.
I talk a lot on this blog about not giving up on the work you feel you've been called to, and I still believe that whole-heartedly. No matter what your specific calling may be though, taking care of yourself, producing at a high level, and maintaining a sense of fulfillment is just as much a part of your art as the craft itself.
Don't give up. Keep adjusting. Discover your specific formula for top creative and personal fulfillment.