Dear Puttylike reader, this is a classic Puttylike post. Meaning, it’s from the early days–from before I really found my voice or knew what I was doing. I’ve chosen to keep this post online for the benefit of Puttylike readers who have worked their way backward through the archives. And also to highlight the fact that everybody starts somewhere! xo, Emilie
This post is part of the Multi-Focus Maverick Series. A series about how to split up your time effectively so that you can focus on many things and make progress on all of them.
Sometimes my multipotentialite days are super fun. They might consist of some writing in the morning, a little violin in the afternoon, an adventure with a buddy and a Bollywood dance class in the evening.
Other times, my multipotentialite days are… less fun. These days may involve replying to endless emails, politely declining to work on amazing projects that I’d love to get involved with, but have no time for, and battling with resistance to get a post written.
On some days work is a pleasure. All your multipotentialite parts work in synchronicity and you feel like a burning furnace of productivity. Other days… Well, other days are simply a pain to get through.
Every inspiring goal is made up of day-to-day “annoyances”
I’ve read countless times about how writers routinely sit down and bash their heads against their desks, stare at blank screens, slave away endlessly in isolation. I recently read a book on television writing, where the author admitted to hating the actual process of writing. However, seeing his script come to life on television made the whole thing worthwhile. Over the course of those 23 minutes, all the hours of pain would melt away from his memory and he’d be rejuvenated and ready to do it all over again.
How do you have fun and stay inspired when the immediate work on your plate is less creative and more, shall we say, “maintenance,” in nature?
You need reminders of your big-picture visions.
Remember those core projects you defined for yourself– the few priority projects that you chose to focus on in Focus Mode? (The other interests get thrown into Scanner mode, where dabbling/multitasking is allowed.) Well, for those core projects that you want to make real progress on, you need daily reminders.
Your reminders can be written descriptions, an image board, drawings, sticky notes, whatever. You just need to see them and be instantly reminded of your core projects– what your working towards and why.
Your Reminders Need to Be In a Spot You’ll Notice Regularly
Most people set New Years resolutions, file them away in a (physical or mental) drawer somewhere and forget about them for the next twelve months. Do most people achieve their New Years resolutions? Uh no.
The key to staying on track and making it through the less inspiring work is keeping your vision in mind at all times. Reminders help you do that.
Hang your goals on your wall. (Do it, no matter how silly you’re afraid it makes you look. Oh and fyi, if you choose the right kinds of friends, they won’t find this silly at all!) Turn your desktop wallpaper into a vision board or some other image that reminds you of what you’re working towards.
Do whatever it takes. You need reminders in prominent places so that you can’t miss them.
To achieve a goal, you must know what that goal is and you must think about it regularly
Not a day goes by when I don’t think: “Renaissance Business, Puttylike, coaching, building a social life/home in Portland.” These are my core projects right now (in no particular order). They’re in the forefront of my mind and I think about them all the time.
I dabble with my other passions (violin, design, etc.) when I’m in scanning mode. But when it comes to focus time, I know exactly what “time well spent” looks like. I also know when I’m goofing off. Hanging out with a new friend, for example, is not goofing off because it’s completely in line with my “social life” goal. I know that, so I don’t have to feel guilty for blowing off work for a bit.
Reminders help you assess whether or not an action is in line with a core project
Clearly defining your priorities is important for assessing whether an action is really worth doing now, or whether it can be pushed to a later date.
Whenever a new possible action arises, just think about whether it will further one of your core projects. If not, jot it down in your notebook and return to it when you’re in scanning mode.
Have your reminders illicit “juicy visions”
(Note: best heading ever.)
When you look up at your core projects on your wall, you want to get inspired. Try to feel the end result. If you’re goal is to make 5K a month, don’t just imagine an abstract number, take it further and get in touch with the emotions.
What does that number feel like? Would it mean freedom? What kind of experiences would you be able to have? Embody that feeling. Who would you be able to help with this kind of money? Would you take any trips? Imagine them.
Knowing how to reignite the emotion behind your core projects is the secret to making it through the less inspiring work. It takes reminders that are located in a spot you notice regularly and it takes reminders that illicit juicy, inspiring visions.
Having a visualization ritual also really helps with this process of remembering and embodying your goals. I’ll get into that in the next part of the series.
How do you stay on track during the less inspiring work? What are some of your core projects right now?