I want to lead off with a quick program note: I'm going to try to publish three articles weekly from now on: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It's an ambitious schedule, but after reading this article, I hope you'll realize where I'm coming from. Enjoy! –D.J.
Any guesses as to what this post is about? I've recently had people tell me that the tone of my blog might be a little too positive. I think the exact wording was, "Man, your blog is so positive. It's like, 'I want what D.J.'s having!'" Well, short of drinking massive amounts of wine, I figured I'd try to balance out the site a bit, so here goes: you're wasting your time!
Dare I say everyone reading this post has some project that is either languishing in their heads, unable to be launched, or on which they have stalled for various reasons. It could be something as small as starting a blog, or something as unimaginable as starting a new company. The important point is that these ideas do no good trapped in your head like prisoners!
Believe me, I have a (relatively) stressful job that (sometimes) requires long hours, and for which I'm generally on-call. Do you see me sitting around, watching Jeopardy!, sipping on wine? Well, I guess I am doing that too…but regardless, I'm also working on writing blog posts and editing some of my stories, damn it! It's not all bread and roses. You have to prioritize. I get it, sometimes you just want to chill out and watch some TV, or go out and get totally bombed with your buddies. This is fine—in moderation, of course. Sometimes, if you're in a creative field, this can even be productive; I've had some of my better ideas while sitting around, shooting the shit with friends over a few beers. However, if you engage in these activities and neglect your productive projects entirely, you'll never get anywhere!
"But D.J., it's just so damned easy to get comfortable and put off those projects for another day. Won't they be there twenty, thirty years down the road?" Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? The point is, if you have a job yet want to accomplish non-work related projects, you have to be willing to dedicate a majority of your non-sleeping free time to them. Anything less gives you zero room to complain about "how will I find the time?" You make it, buddy.
"But D.J., how do I find a 'kick in the ass?'" Other than insulting a surly-looking stranger that is much larger than you? You find out what can get you to work harder. Mark Sisson has some ideas over at his excellent blog. Or, you read about people that inspire you. Or, if you need a "kick in the ass," you have a significant other/friend/relative tell you how worthless you are for not working on your project. In short, you use whatever you respond to best as motivation. I liken it to how a catcher handles a pitcher during a mound conference—they either know to tell the guy how worthless he is and how everyone is just killing the ball right now, or they know that they need to build up their confidence. Only you know how to best motivate yourself. I can't tell you that. So, either tap into the power of "flow," read some inspirational stories, and remind yourself of how you can change the world, or have someone tear you down and tell you that you're a waste of a human, play-acting at getting things done while the world passes you by. Either way, just get started!
Questions? Comments? Enjoy the "edgier" tone to this article? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @djgelner.