A newsletter at the intersection of creativity and wellness.
July 29, 2020
Hello, creators. I hope you are feeling well. I hope you are happily creating. Most of all, I hope you see how that first thing influences that second thing.
Today we’re going to put forth a few new ways to look at those productivity-sappers:
Or, maybe we should delay that and take a walk.
No! I’m kdding! We’re doing it! First:
Think you’re procrastinating? Maybe you’re not. Or maybe you are for a very good reason.
I’ve been a freelance writer long enough to give myself a break about procrastination, and its close cousin, avoidance. Also in that stew is good ol’ self-pity. In fact, to cheer up a colleague who was feeling all of that, I made up this circle graph documenting my “copywriting process.” Any of this look familiar?
In case you can’t read it or the image doesn’t appear, the steps are:
- Study creative brief.
- Ask for clarifications.
- Feel sorry for myself and vow to quit copywriting forever.
- Sit butt in chair and finally write for 3-4 hours.
- Rinse and repeat until the copy is fantastic.
- Get genuinely excited about presenting and producing.
- Do so, then have knowledge of subject matter leave short-term memory forever.
#4, in red, is by far the largest slice of the pie. By far.
My point of this almost-funny admission is this: procrastination (and even feeling sorry for yourself) can actually be an important part of the copywriting process. Because you are working during that time in the “red.” The sub-conscious is working. Always. When you walk away. When you eat a banana. When you scroll through Twitter. Okay, maybe not that. But when you return to the page, you’ve made more progress than you think.
As August Birch says in the article How to Engage Your Subconscious Mind to Solve Your Toughest Problems:
Think of your subconscious as the back-office of your brain, dealing with all the deep tasks, while your conscious mind cooks dinner, navigates through traffic, chooses which Netflix show to watch, and holds a conversation. Ever notice all the green cars after you buy a green car, or you take out the trash and a great idea pops in your head from nowhere? This is your subconscious hard at work in the background.August Birch
Many home-based creators, me among them, can name time after time when, after stepping back and behaving in what feels like procrastination, magic happens. An immediate “ah-ha” after sitting back down. An easier flow.
This tip can be boiled down to one thing:
Trust the process.
And if procrastination is part of your process, trust it., too (As long as you don’t miss any deadlines because of it. That’s another thing entirely.)
As for lethargy, well, that, too, is another thing entirely. Procrastination is mental. Lethargy is physical. Maybe you need a nap. Or maybe you need less sleep. Or a change of diet (you are what you eat.) Or maybe you need some herb.
On that note, here is a practical tip:
Yep, the ancient herb, available in stores and Amazon. I take it daily and it helps my energy, stamina and immunity enormously. Science bears this out. I know because I interviewed an expert about it.
Here’s an article I wrote for the online newsletter of Sigma-Aldrich, the scientific equipment company, about a university-based researcher using the company’s tools to study ginseng. Spoiler: The scientist herself takes it every day, and after I wrote this, I started doing so, too.
It has no lighted parking, no drive-through pharmacy and no giant displays of shampoo, but make no mistake: ginseng is a drugstore.
Finally, we turn to the Dang Gnats for another fun, proven and sweet remedy for improving your mood, and therefore your productivity:
Take it away, gnats!
Okay, that’s it for this week. Thanks for coming to my newsletter about the intersection of creativity and wellness. Keep feeling better, everyone. And keep creating. Creating more will make you feel better, which will allow you to create more.
Wait a minute. I sense a pattern here. Can it really be that simple?
I asssure you:
Here’s a guy really good at beating himself up over procrastination. It’s our award-winning radio spot for Smartship.com called “Beat-Yourself-Up Hotline.” Enjoy!
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