I’ve been doing this writing thing for a little over two years now, so you would think I’d have everything figured out at this moment in time. Right? WRONG! No, I’ve just recently figured a few things out that will determine how I proceed with my writing journey into the future. For some, the light bulb may come on a lot sooner or it might take even longer to shine its brightest. The universal awesomeness about our personal journeys is they’re personal and unique to each individual. I figure — whenever the light comes on is probably the best time for it to come on — just as long as it eventually comes on.
I’ve always known my WHY for writing. Never had any doubts about that part of doing what I do. I’ve just had a full two years of not knowing how to successfully execute or strategically get my content into the hands of people who can benefit from it. After all, I’m not writing just to write or writing because I don’t have anything better to do. Believe me when I say that my days are STACKED and I have plenty to keep me busy outside of creating content. But, I write because I believe I have something to offer (in written form) to people who appreciate positive living, encouragement, and life-long learning and growth.
And to that end, the struggle in figuring out how to proceed on this journey is worth every bit of discouragement, frustration, and rejection that may come my way. Because there are two different ways I could choose to react in the uncomfortable times throughout my writing journey:
- I could easily give up. OR,
- I could get fighting mad at the negativity that may come and chose to do something constructive about it like use the negativity as fuel to keep my creative fire burning.
If you haven’t guessed by my writing tone or the way I just highlighted the second option above, I choose to go with #2 — all day every day.
And doing something constructive about it is what I intend to do. However, I tend to struggle with how to strategically make things happen.
My daughter is pretty gentle in the way in which she approaches me about efficiently GETTING THINGS DONE. She doesn’t beat around the bush though. Not only does she lead by example, but she tries to subtly let me know when I could be performing tasks in a way in which it wouldn’t be so taxing on my time and energy.
In fact, she’s tried to show and tell me (a time or two) how to properly and quickly cut an onion. I’ve taken her demonstration and her verbal instruction into consideration. But I still like my method for cutting an onion better. I get the aesthetics to my personal liking with my more finely chopped onion in just a few minutes more than my daughter’s method. So, what’s the harm in sticking to something that works for my purposes? I think I’ll keep my strategy because it serves its purpose and I’ve gotten pretty quick with my process over time, so it’s definitely not a time-suck in my opinion.
On the other hand, the men in my household are a bit more direct and will straight out tell me I’m doing certain tasks or processes the wrong way at times. They’ve been known to repeatedly tell me I’m making things harder than they have to be. And they proceed to educate me on more simplified ways of getting things done. I’ll admit that it’s hard for me to hear their suggestions. But most times, I secretly agree with them — with the fact that I tend to make things more difficult than they need to be SOMETIMES. But, I definitely DON’T always agree with their suggested way of doing the “thing” better.
I’ve never had a problem with working hard. I’ve done it all my life. It’s simply the way in which I work that doesn’t always benefit me or the outcome I’m trying to achieve. I think some of that inability to consistently “work smarter, not harder” has to do with my hesitancy in delegating tasks and with using technology. (I’ll discuss these two strongholds a little later on.) Don’t get me wrong, though. I have my shining moments when I’m working in beast productivity mode, but I’d like to make this phenomenon more of the norm rather than the rare occasion. Just think how much more I would get done if I could figure out a balance in efficiency of purposeful action.
And when it comes to content creation processes, I have to make sure that the things I do count toward my rightful placement — a balanced approach that hits all the rungs as I go up the creative ladder. The balanced mixture of the right stuff will always make for the best case scenario.
In other words, activities that are the most sustainable and rewarding are those that we can . . .
- excel at and that can help benefit ourselves and others. (Do what you’re good at and what is of benefit to others.)
- get intrinsic and extrinsic value from spending our time doing. (Do what you enjoy doing.)
- know will move us toward positive outcomes and goal-achievement. (Reap the rewards of a job well done.)
Plus, my life-long goal of making a living in doing what I love is the GOAL of all goals that I’m working to achieve each time I create something new and put it out into the world. And to that end, I’ve decided that it’s TIME TO WRITE but to write in a smart way, where simplifying the process is the framework I’ll use to travel lighter and faster on my writing journey.
Take a look at my simplification strategies:
Using Technology to Create a Quicker Turn-Around Time
I’m finding myself using my voice recorder more and more for blog posts and content for my ebooks. And for a person who is more of a tactile learner and worker, it’s amazing that technology is becoming more of a helpful go-to when it comes to getting words captured for my various creative platforms.
My writing process has changed from my humble beginnings when paper and pencil seemed to be the writing tools of choice. Now, I use my recorder because ideas come too fast for me to write down these days. I’m always mulling ideas around in my head — when I’m lying in the bed, taking a shower, cooking, cleaning, driving in my car, walking down the aisles of the grocery store, etc.
I’ve noticed that ideas seem to flow when I’m at a state of not being mentally busy and can just let my mind be at peace and relaxed. For me, those quiet moments provide instances of clarity in thoughts and creative mental discovery.
Ironically though, my writing and new ebook development ideas come at some of the most inopportune times and not at moments when it’s easy to use pencil and paper. Therefore, having my recorder close by allows me to quickly record my words and ideas as they come to mind or soon after (if I’m stuck somewhere like the shower). The recorder is so much more efficient at capturing the information that flows from my mind before it dissipates into the mind fog that can so easily set in.
And once I have a chance, I can transcribe the voice-recorded information into the computer, rough-draft-style. Then, I’ll revise and fine tune the rough-draft blog post or book content when getting into edit mode.
Performing Mentally-Challenging Tasks Earlier in the Day
A strategy that I’ve learned to adopt over time is performing my most mentally-challenging tasks before evening (actually, morning through early evening), when I’m more energetic and have more clarity of thought. After dinner time, when everyone is getting off of work and school, is too hectic of a time to put the “thinking cap” in optimal working mode. Evening time is meant to start winding down, while resting the old noggin. For me, it’s not meant for thinking too deeply. Honestly, I just CAN’T after a certain point in the day. I talk about this in my previous post entitled, Fitting Book Writing into the Schedule Efficiently.
However, I do find myself doing some content work after hours (in the evenings), but it’s more of the mindless types of tasks that don’t take a lot of brain power. For example, I’m able to work on my Pinterest pinning during the evenings because I can do so without wearing down my mental acuity too much. Or, I might finish up some thoughts on blog posts or new product ideas that I started earlier in the day but need to develop more. At times, I find it more beneficial to capture my thoughts in the evenings (while they’re fresh) instead of pushing them off to the next day.
Batching Similar Tasks Together
Batching similar tasks together for more of a streamlined, efficient flow of completion seems to be the way to go for a lot of content creators out there. And I have to admit, it works wonders. I’ve tried it recently with a little bit of my daily routine and it makes sense to work on the tasks that have similar processes while your momentum is flowing with that type of a task. Switching from one to-do that has absolutely nothing to do with the next to-do is an energy drainer. It takes the momentum you start out with and quickly siphons it off when shifting to a process that’s completely different.
My new strategy is to work on similar tasks together in their respective blocks of time. For example, I might devote two to four hours of my time to the types of tasks that require me to use my cognitive skills like written communications, content creation, researching and studying, and reading for comprehension. Furthermore, I might utilize a separate block of two to four hours to focus on more physically-taxing activities such as cooking, housework, and running errands. And throughout the day, I’ll use this process of alternating back and forth in blocks of time, working on similar activities for a more efficient work flow.
Delegating Tasks When I Can
The intended purpose of this time-saving strategy is to free up time to do other things — those things that are more of my specialty or those things I prefer to do. Delegating tasks that others can do will allow me to do more writing. Seems like a simple way to get more content created. Yes indeed, it does. At first glance, anyway. But, I’ve been known to make things difficult where they don’t need to be.
If you’re anything like I am, it’s hard to give up certain tasks, when you aren’t quite sure if your substitute will get the job done to your liking. I’ll admit it. I have trust issues here. But I’m doing better at letting others have additional responsibilities, which frees up some of my very valuable time. And why am I finally catching a clue here? Well, I simply can’t do everything myself. It’s called stretching yourself too thin, and I’m over it.
If there’s an able-bodied person who can handle a particular task (even if it’s not handled the exact way I would do it), I’m learning to be okay that. As long as the result is achieved and I don’t have to go back and totally redo something that was done incorrectly (according to my standards), then I’m determined to be good with help when and where I can get it.
Cutting Out the Busywork That’s Not Serving a Purpose
And here’s what I mean for this strategy. I’ve decided to concentrate solely on new product development with digital products for the time being. I’ve tried my hand at physical products; and they’re not my forte and are incredibly time-consuming. In fact, my time would be taken away from my writing, which is where my creative strength lies. So, why not stick with what works and fine-tune it?
Because I’m a solopreneur, I can’t afford to aimlessly engage in non-value-added activities that are busywork distractions, taking me away from performing those tasks of real substance that lead to real results. It’s time to move with meaningful purpose in all that I do.
It’s time for purpose-driven focus.