Make productive periods produce great results
Our levels of thinking fluctuate. Some days our brains will fire off great ideas in all direction, on others we want nothing more than to switch off and forget any of our grand ambitions. This is always going to be the case — no-one is 100% switched on all of the time (except, maybe, Elon Musk).
What we can change though is how much we capitalise on our periods of higher thinking and greater clarity. The way to do so is create a path for action during those moments, with the lowest amount of activation energy required.
Let me use some examples to demonstrate.
Removing “writer’s block”
For a long time I could never finish writing an article. I would find it too difficult to focus the whole way through, I would start to doubt my ability to express myself and I would continually question what people would think as I wrote.
Therefore, whenever I had a seedling idea or a question I wanted to answer, I would never let it grow beyond that stage. It would sprout in my mind but then wither and die.
Over the course of time, I have worked hard to diminish these barriers to writing. I wrote every day for 30 days. I forced myself to share my articles on Facebook. I have managed to silence the voices sufficiently to be able to write on command and share it on Medium most of the time.
Kendrick Lamar describes forcing himself to continually write raps for a number of years until he got to the point where, at any point in time, no matter how he is feeling, he can write a full rap song. This doesn’t mean it will always be good, but it does mean that if he gets a great insight or idea for a new song, the path exists for him to convert it into a rap.
Different mediums of expression
Writing is only one of many mediums through which you can act on an insight or idea. Making videos is another.
In recent months, I’ve had a number of good ideas that would be best conveyed through video. In each instance, however, limitations have prevented the idea from fully coming to fruition. On occasions I have filmed some or all of it but never edited it. On others, I have edited it but not felt confident enough to share it.
I am still being restricted by my limited competency in video editing and my self-consciousness about sharing videos.
What are the barriers that stop you from capitalising on being in a great state?
To get to the point where you maximally benefit from these periods of clarity or insights, it’s necessary to create a pathway of minimal resistance for the insight to pass down.
What area do you have insights in?
What medium would you like to express or act upon these in?
What are the current limitations and how can you remove them?
Stop and ask yourself these questions now.
Limitations on my path
A brainstorm of things that limit the amount that I benefit from periods of high productivity and clarity produced:
- Admin, which eats up free time and is draining
- Caring what other people think, so being afraid to create or do
- Fear of hard work — afraid that starting a new idea will involve hard work
- Overconfidence — thinking that my current high productivity and mental clarity will last forever, so what’s the rush?
- Scared of not achieving the end goal — if I start working on a project, what it I’m not happy with the result?
- Feeling its a waste of time — there’s no point doing it if no-one is going to read it or benefit from it, right?
- Scared of the consequences of actual achieving what I want
- Scared that the good state of mind won’t last long enough for me to finish it once I get started, which would be frustrating
We all have great ideas from time to time which could change our lives and the lives of others for the better. Most of us never act on them. In order to do so, we must continually break down our limitations. This will enable these great insights and periods of clarity to come to fruition.