In the creator economy, personal performance and business performance are uniquely linked. When you sleep in, business opens late. When you write for 6 hours, your business receives 6 hours of productive inputs. When you take care of your health and wellness, your business’ employee engagement (i.e. your engagement) is taken care of, equally.
With this unique linking, personal factors that are typically off-limits to companies and organisations suddenly become relevant and accessible. Your sleep patterns, for instance. Your optimal work schedule. Your social media activity. Your health and fitness behaviors. …
Let’s try a thought experiment.
Imagine yourself tasked with infiltrating the life and actions of a solo creator. It could be anyone. A popular, well-known author. An up-and-coming artist. A niche community YouTuber.
Now let’s imagine that, for whatever reason, you have it on good authority they’re a dangerous agent. An enemy propagandist, perhaps — such that hindering their creative efficacy is of the highest import and indeed a noble cause.
Which tactics would you deploy? Which weak spots would you target? What devious schemes would you contrive to ensure this talented, dangerous creator is as ineffective as possible?
The modern creative landscape is digital. Every blog post, podcast episode, Instagram story, and YouTube video leaves its unique digital footprint — and with it, a parallel stream of data flows from each day’s activities, waiting to be mined and put to use.
Depending on the publishing platform, many of us have access to more analytics, reporting, and statistics than we know what to do with — from average viewing time to conversion goal percentages; page, country, city, and referral source breakdowns; bounce rates and exits; open rates and click-through rates and every cursor scroll between.
Being a creator means making things, daily.
There’s a limit to how much of this ‘making’ we can do, though. There’s a limit in terms of the hours we can spend sitting at a desk. And there’s a limit to how many of those hours are likely to produce anything of value.
Intuitively, we understand there must be some limit, but we rarely ask:
‘What is that threshold, exactly?’
Using data about ourselves to calculate a daily threshold — tailored to you, specifically (and not simply tied to the latest ‘X-hour-work-week’ trend) — can help us:
3 levels of casual sleep scientist.
I recently started tracking my sleep with an Oura ring.
The detail and sheer volume of data is incredible — intimidating, almost.
But that, in itself, isn’t going to improve my quality of sleep. Simply having more data than I know what to do with isn’t going to make the numbers go up — in fact, ironically, paying too close attention to my sleep quality might just result in a mild form of sleep anxiety which derails the whole project.
Which is what prompted me to dive into this topic.
*Warning: this is going…
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
— Dylan Thomas (1951)
In college, I played Division I volleyball.
This meant that, often, game-simulating drills had some kind of punishment on the line for the losing side.
The punishment would vary, but one go-to exercise was appropriately labelled ‘suicide sprints’.
For the uninitiated, suicides involve sprinting up and down the court, touching each line of the court progressively until you’re touching the opposite baseline and sprinting its full length.
If you’re interested in earning a living as a creator— if you are, as Seth Godin puts it, interested in developing a ‘Practice’, not just a hobby — then, like any other business, it pays to define a mission.
We often skip this step as independent creators. We feel that because it’s our thing, we must intuitively know what the mission is — and so sitting down to consider our ‘mission statement’ seems an unnecessary formality.
But ask yourself, now — do you have a clear, compelling, tightly phrased response to the question: ‘Why do you make what you make?’
On the last day of January, 2019, I posed a simple question to myself:
Where are the hours of each day actually going?
Strangely, I didn’t have a good answer. Not even a good approximation. I’d recently gone back to studying and was picking up freelance writing gigs to pay my way. It was a constant treadmill I wanted to exit, but I just didn’t have any buffer.
When I tried to audit the day that had just passed, I realized I couldn’t say where my time had gone. …
Here’s a simple exercise for today.
The Ladder Of Why is a tool for gaining clarity in your work. Specifically, clarity on the relationships between the tasks you’re working on and the objectives you’re moving toward.
There are only two rules:
1. To move up the ladder, ask ‘Why?’
2. To move down the ladder, ask ‘How?’
Take anything you happen to be working on. An article you’re writing; a song you’re composing; a script you’re coding.
Every task you’re engaged in belongs somewhere on your own unique Ladder of Why.
Toward the top, we have our objectives — the…
We are both planners and makers of our own lives.
The planner is idealistic, optimistic and largely unaccountable; capable of wild-eyed ambitions and firm prescriptions for what should be done.
The maker is inspired, diligent and talented; but inevitably flawed, distractable and ever obligated to the plan. Naturally, this creates a good deal of tension.
When we plan more than we do, it doesn’t go unnoticed.