This never gets old. Read it once a year.
Chicago, you’re my kind of town!
Over the last few days I’ve been wrestling with the whole idea of striving for better. Part of me thinks it’s human nature. We have an ideal in our head for what we want in our life. The perfect job, the perfect mate, the perfect life. And yet I’m starting to realize this kind of thinking is a double-edged sword. If we’re always feeling like ‘we aren’t there yet’ then I don’t think we ever will. I’m starting to see life the way a rock sculpture looks at the rock. It’s misshapen, lop-sided, imperfect. The sculpture doesn’t look for the perfect rock, he or she sees the perfection that’s already there. And with diligence and tenacity they slowly remove the parts that don’t belong…
The idea of the shitty first draft is to get you through a mental block. It’s particularly relevant for me right now because I’m working on a honkin and important document for work and I’ve been frozen in ice for the last 2 days. In essence the shitty first draft gives you permission to make the first draft… well… shitty. This means just literally doing a mental throw-up on the page without pausing to inspect or criticize every other word. The goal is to just get the first draft done and then take some time to do something else. Come back to it with a clear mind and then start editing. Remember, it’s always easier to start with something then to try and mentally construct perfection from a blank page. Give it a try the next time you have to create a doc or presentation that feels overwhelming and let me know how it goes!
Pretty sure I read about this back in the day at 43Folders.com, so a hat-tip to Merlin Mann.
Great article! Thanks to @flyzipper for the link…
For those of you who are easily distracted like me, you probably have a tough time staying focused on a task to completion. People like us just know it’s far too much fun to do lots of things to keep our ADD brains occupied. Inevitably we often completely forget to complete the task we set out to do in the first place!
A while back a good friend of mine brought me back a friendship bracelet from Thailand and I decided to do a little experiment. I put on the bracelet whenever I needed to focus on completing a task. The bracelet was a constant reminder to stay focused on what I wanted to get done. Once I was done I’d take it off and go be my ADD self for the next few hours. Then back on it went when I needed to buckle down and focus.
This kind of ritual has been extremely successful for me over the last few months. It doesn’t need to be a bracelet. Maybe chew some gum, or put on a hat!
Good luck fellow ADDers!
Like me, you’re probably not one of those lucky people whose life is pre-ordained either because the good Lord came down from above and told you what you were going to be or you just knew growing up what you were passionate about. Life has taught me that the best way to determine what you want to do is to understand and acknowledge what you really don’t like spending time on. Time is a funny thing, I’ve noticed that when I’m really engaged in something I enjoy I just lose track of time (call it a groove, a zone, whatever). Contrast that with how painfully slow time seems to move when you’re doing something that doesn’t interest you at all. I recently just created a list with two columns. One side was ‘Things I seem to easily get into the zone doing’ and the other was ‘Things that I really do not enjoy spending my time on’. Realistically, we’ll probably never fully escape column two.
My goal is whenever I move to a new occupation, I do so consciously with the intent of moving away from column two and ideally finding a way to spend more time on zone activities. The trick is to start the list when you’re young and ideally spend your time doing a lot of different jobs are occupations so you can make the list as comprehensive as possible by the time you’re 30. Don’t be one of those people that wakes up after 30 years at a job only to realize you’ve been living your days in column two!
For those interested, here’s a few things from each of my columns:
Things I get into the zone doing:
- Brainstorming (Divergent thinking)
- Collaborating on ideas with others
- Coaching / Mentoring
- Leading project teams
Things that make me want to jump off a cliff if I have to do them too long
- Repetitive, administrative work (data input)
- Data analysis
- Working in isolation for extended periods
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those that have found it