The work you do is a gift to the world, but that doesn't mean it's for everyone.
Simply changing your circumstances or your productivity system might inject a measure of energy into your work and give you a boost for a short while, but that increase in output will be short-lived if you aren’t committed to an outcome.
What is the first thing you do in the morning? The last thing you do at night? Your first action when taking on a new project? Your impulse when receiving good (or bad) news?
If you asked those questions to many highly productive creatives, they’ll have immediate answers. Not because they are micro-obsessive about their schedules, but because over time they’ve developed predictable rituals around key areas of their life and work.
Here are three career investments that I think every single creative should be making now, and should continue to make consistently. These are the three aspirations that you should be chasing in order to ensure that you won’t be left behind.
For creative pros - those charged with turning our thoughts into value every day - the promise of a quick path to successful work is alluring. If there were proven ways to avoid the uncertainty and pain of the process, they would be worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, they don't exist. Not really, anyway.
In my brand new book Die Empty, I examine the common places where bright, sharp, talented people eventually get stuck in their life and career. The goal, of course, is to get your best work out of you every day and to not leave it inside or take it to your grave with you like so many people do.
You cannot pursue great work and comfort simultaneously. While you may experience comfort in the course of your work, or as a by-product of your work, great work and comfort are mutually exclusive objectives. Brilliant bodies of work are built as people choose over time to do the right thing, even when it's the uncomfortable thing.
We each have danger zones we have to watch out for in the course of our work. They can be particular habits or patterns we fall into when we go into "coast mode" or areas or situations where we are likely to get irritated and short-circuit collaborative relationships.
While meetings can go bad in an endless variety of ways, one thing is common to all bad meetings: they’re a colossal waste of time. Sadly, if a typical month includes a number of meetings, this wasted time amounts to a massive chunk of our lives! We need a solution.
Discipline is sometimes perceived as a "dirty word" because it's interpreted as pushing through the muck, doing the unenjoyable activities first, and forgoing the chocolate cake for the steamed broccoli. However, I think this is a gross misunderstanding of the word.
Your legacy is not just what you do, but also how you do it. It will be determined by a series of choices you make over your life about how to spend this moment - here, and now.