You Have A Limited Time

Everyone has a life calendar. A finite amount of time to live and contribute. Wait But Why’s Tim Urban has exceptionally illustrated this concept of a limited time through his blog posts. To demonstrate, here is a 90 year life broken out into years. To put the life span in perspective, a 25 year old has used more than a quarter of these diamond shaped years.

Why This Matters

Most of the content you produce is at and for work. While it is extremely important to dedicate time, effort and resources to work. It is also important to dedicate time for your own projects.

You need to spend time being creative and focusing on projects that are important to you. Many companies have recognized this such as Linkedin’s once a quarter challenge, Chaotic Moon’s one team one week a month project, and 3M giving employees time off to work on projects.

Once you work on projects aligned to your vision your quality and enjoyment excels. You are also able to tap into your talent. Each of us has a unique skills and views of the world. We need to best utilize these skills and the way to do that is to work on your own project.

How Do I Do The Work

The key is to fight resistance. Steven’s Pressfield the War of Art is an exceptional book that explains and challenges you to do the work. Ultimately, it is up to you and your will power to establish fundamental habits that will enabled you to create content.



Establishing Habits

Habits are formed the in the following cycle:

The cycle breaks down into the following actionable steps:

  • Understand the routine you want to change or establish
  • Create a suitable reward
  • Identify the cues that detract you from that routine
  • Brainstorm cues that could be used to trigger that route
  • Apply those cues, change the routine, reward yourself

For example, image that you want to change your habits when you get home after work to be more productive. You would need to understand your cycle to be the following:

  • Routine: Exercise and work on blog
  • Reward: 30 minutes TV, a mango, peanut butter smoothie
  • Cue: Go to gym immediately after work

Now the hardest part is establishing the cue and triggering the process.

Alternatively, often the easiest way of changing a habit is to keep the same cue and reward but insert a different routine. This will help you change to a new habit rather than break an existing habit.

Habits are vital to establishing a successful and achievement filled life. For example, 80% of top performers who are interview by Tim Ferriss meditate daily as a part of their habits.

Importantly habits stop you needing to use willpower. Many people in leadership have identified that we have a limited amount of will power and they reserve decision making where necessary. For example the President of the United States only wears two suits, a blue and gray to avoid having to make daily clothing decisions.

Set your own habits to maximize your potential and minimize unnecessary willpower expenditure.

What Type of Content You Should Create

If you are just starting to create content, here are some key criteria are:

  • Do you like the topic?
  • Does it have an achievable finish date?
  • Can you authentically express yourself?

Here is a list of possible projects that you can get involved in:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Analytics Dashboard
  • Mobile App
  • Podcast
  • Painting
  • Journal
  • Book
  • Video
  • News Paper
  • Government Opinion
  • Wood work
  • Robotics
  • Real Estate

Rank each of these projects and other ideas that you have in order. At the top should be highest satisfaction and most achievable. Start at project #1, give yourself a deadline, work on it as often as possible and see where it goes.

Why it is Important to Create a Product Rather than Settle on an Idea

The fastest way to realize value is to use items to do things. Creating a prototype as quickly as possible is key to generating ideas and ensuring a product works. It is also often the most efficient way of creating a product of value. For any of your projects, I’d encourage you to make something so it becomes real.