In Martial Arts, technique is the act of physical ability being applied efficiently and, thus, effectively. Many Martial Artists train for years to hone their different techniques for combat because, without proper technique, they are vulnerable to their weaknesses; they will fatigue much quicker and severely, their attacks or defenses will be significantly reduced, and they will be much slower. Techniques are simply efficient answers to problems one has in the face of an obstacle.
The same principle applies to creatives and our ability to produce content we and others enjoy. For many creatives, the more time they have to spend on the creation of the product, the greater the quality and rate of production will be. This, subsequently, yields a higher return on their investment of time, energy, cost into their platform – a win, win, win.
Many creatives are cited saying they would love to create on their platforms for a living and would rather be creating than working their metaphorical day jobs for income if it meant that platform produced the same amount of income. Unfortunately, this leads to creatives coming to the common misconception that leaving their jobs (or having as much time as they wish during the day) will cause their productivity to sky rocket so that they can achieve success.
In this blog, I will explain why that is a misconception and what you can be doing to be extremely productive with your platform while also working a metaphorical 9 to 5 for stable income.
Less Time is More
First things first, we need to acknowledge that having more time past the threshold of 2-4 hours will not guarantee more production on one’s platform on its own. Many get the notion that having 12 hours a day to work will result in 12 hours of work being done but the exact opposite is true. Having too much time to create will lead to the creator putting off the incubation and creation process for later – at times they feel more inclined to produce.
Think about it, how many times in your life have you gone, “I’ll do that later” or “Not right now” only to find time passing and the task still not having been accomplished? This can be during breaks in school, vacation related weekends (such as MLK, Labor Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving), then, when there’s not an abundance of time, you realize you must get the task done and prioritize it.
Unfortunately, this mentality of wanting more time but doing less work has led many creatives to hit a wall and postpone their optimistic goals of creation. It’s not an issue of laziness, for the truly lazy don’t think for themselves and have no desire to produce at all, It’s an issue of organization.
Organization is as Important as Creation Itself
For many creatives, especially those born in the United States, we are born into a system that has handled scheduling and productivity for us; school, sports, clubs are all at a set time growing up, your parent(s) or guardians decided a bed time for you, they tell you where to go, what to do, when to do it. The teacher comes up with the curriculum based on what someone above their pay grade decided and planned, the coach comes up with practice plans based on what someone more experienced than them came up with, your parents come up with paternal plans based on what those who came before them did, This pattern continues until the teenage years where you begin to have a bit more freedom.
If you’re lucky, your mentors and teachers at least somewhat educated you on the basics of scheduling and planning for productivity but, for many, the lesson goes right over their heads when it comes to applying the practice to their platforms. In order to be the most productive creators we can be, we must admit that we are products of a system of planning and learn how to effectively plan our platform production according to our strengths and weaknesses.
Your Solution: Pareto’s Principle and Parkinson’s Law
One weakness that must be addressed, especially with perfectionist creatives, is the obstacle of overthinking the task that needs to be accomplished. For this, creatives need to learn and master Pareto’s Priniciple. “The Pareto Principle, named after economist Vilfredo Pareto, specifies that 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes, asserting an unequal relationship between inputs and outputs. This principle serves as a general reminder that the relationship between inputs and outputs is not balanced. The Pareto Principle is also known as the Pareto Rule or the 80/20 Rule.” (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/paretoprinciple.asp)
This holds true for most aspects of life. One doesn’t need to be a master in every aspect of a craft, simply fundamentally sound as 20% of the creation process creates 80% of the material. This can be applied to social situations, economic, athletic, etc., When one understands that they don’t need to be perfect with their production process – only fundamentally sound – they must then learn and master Parkinson’s Law.
“Parkinson’s Law is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. The term was first coined by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a humorous essay he wrote for “The Economist” in 1955. He shares the story of a woman whose only task in a day is to send a postcard – a task which would take a busy person approximately three minutes. But the woman spends an hour finding the card, another half hour looking for her glasses, 90 minutes writing the card, 20 minutes deciding whether or not to take an umbrella along on her walk to the mailbox … and on and on until her day is filled.” (https://www.atlassian.com/blog/productivity/what-is-parkinsons-law)
Simply put, you will be significantly more productive when you plan out allotted times to be able to create or work through the priorities of your task list everyday. Without this, you will face what is called “Decision Fatigue”, the inability to remember and prioritize the work that needs to be done. Parkinson’s Law and Pareto’s Principle will guarantee you to be significantly more productive with your platform so you don’t waste resources (such as emotion, energy, time, money). Much like Martial Arts Techniques, it is the technique that applies your passion efficiently for the best results.
What You Should Do
Start utilizing Parkinson’s Law and Pareto’s Principle by making a list of priority tasks that need to be done for your platform. Take a look at your calendar and start jotting down the hours you’ll be working on your tasks. Try not to overload your schedule and keep things simple each day, (this day I’ll get X done, this day I’ll get Y done) and tailor the production rate according to what you can and can’t do.
Time blocking is very important for creatives and with it, you’ll find yourself having much more success without any extra work or stress.
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