15 Feb

Why Bad Music Makes Good Work

Why Bad Music makes for Good Work

Why Bad Music makes for Good WorkIf you’re not listening to bad music when you work then you’re likely not working as well as you can.

At this point you’re one of two types of people: the ones who already tried what I’m about to tell you, so you’re all “of course” about it[note]Yepp, research backs you, like this study of music induced productivity during repetitive work.[/note], or you don’t like it and you think I’ve lost my mind. You may be right, but not in the way you think.

Humans have an amazing ability to dive deep into activities, and when we do, we become amazingly productive. You think writing 15 novels in a year while holding down a full time job is impossible? How bout just sitting down and writing, no outline, no safety net, and still producing great fiction?

Yeah, a lot of that is practice, but a lot more is mindset. So how do you get into a productive mindset? Read More

11 Jan

A Simple Way to Become an Awesome Idea Genius

Idea Machine

Idea MachineThere was a time I had trouble coming up with ideas.

I’d dream ideas, and I could remember my dreams being filled with wonderful ideas, the feeling of brilliance that accompanied them, but the ideas themselves were as gone as yesterday’s dew.

I couldn’t come up with anything. My mind was blank, gray, and full of dust. It felt like I’d swallowed balls of rolled up spider webs.

I tried sleeping more, sleeping less, and keeping a pad of paper beside me while I slept, in case I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea. Drinking more tea. Drinking less tea. Drinking coffee[note]Ugh, that’s one I’m not doing again. I’m a tea drinker, through and through.[/note]. I tried going to the gym (boring), going running (horribly boring) and going on a sugar binge (horrible, but not boring). I tried everything and my mind stayed as dead as a cheap, plastic skeleton.

Then I found the way. Read More

21 Dec

Harness the Spectacular Productivity of WIBBO(X)

Productive Writers - Kevin J Anderson quote

Productive Writers - Kevin J Anderson quoteI love WIBBOW. It’s an acronym coined, from what I’ve read, by writer Scott William Carter. WIBBOW = Would I Be Better Off Writing?

But that’s not what the title of this blog post says. That’s because it’s a wonderful question to ask in every area of your life. Would I be better off doing X? WIBBO(X).

And it all falls back to what your dreams are. Read More

07 Dec

Forget Willpower – it is Worse than Useless!

Self-Discipline - Roy Baumeister quote

Self-Discipline - Roy Baumeister quoteI tried to change my life for a long time. I figured that if I’d just want it enough, if I’d just tried enough, if I’d have enough will to change, I’d make it.

Nopes. Turns out the world doesn’t work like that.

Trying to change on willpower alone is like trying to lift a car with your bare hands. It might work if you’re Superman but for a regular Joe like me, well, let’s just say it didn’t work an leave out all the embarrassing details.

The reason it didn’t work is to be found in a now classic study by Roy F. Baumeister, published in 1998. Baumeister took a bunch of volunteers and put them, one by one, in a room with a bowl of freshly baked chocolate-chop cookies. Read More

09 Nov

Danger: Are you Fungible?

You are unique - James Altucher quote

You are unique - James Altucher quoteFungible is a wonderful word. It means that something is able to be replaced by something else with no loss of function or value. A bag of flour is fungible. It is fundamentally the same in function and value as any other bag of flour. If you’ve got a bag of flour you can exchange it for another bag with an equal amount of the same type of flour and still be able to bake the same cake.

Wheat is fungible. Oil is fungible. Money is fungible.

Art should never ever, Ever, EVER be fungible. Read More

16 Oct

The Easy Way to Productivity: Habitica RPG Review

Habitica quote

Habitica quoteI’m in love.

I’ve always wanted to be more productive. I’ve tried ”GTD”, The Artist’s Way, a dozen others. But not once have I thought about the importance of the tools you use for your system.

Until now I’ve used Evernote, storing to-dos, projects and tasks. Yes, it’s serviceable (there’s even the Secret Weapon for doing it) but there’s been something missing. I’ve dutifully entered my tasks into lists and notes. I’ve dutifully checked boxes, dotted i’s and crossed t’s. I’ve dutifully followed my plan.

With Habitica I’m doing it for fun. Read More

31 Jul

Stop Gaming and you will be a Better Designer

Challenge: forbid yourself quote

Challenge: forbid yourself quoteThis is one of those insights where you’ve either figured it out and it’s perfectly logical or you haven’t thought about it before and it sounds absolutely preposterous.

Me, I force-figured it out by reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron Amazon . It’s a guideline to getting your creative juices flowing and writing/painting/dancing/what-have-you-ing with joy and immediacy. In effect it’s a workbook where Cameron takes you through a week-by-week course in, well, finding the joy in creation. Yeah, I’ve used joy twice. That’s what it feels like after you’ve followed the guide for a while (and if you’ve followed this blog you’ll notice how I keep harping about it – it really did change my creative habit, my self-image and my willingness to show courage).

Now, most of the chapters deal with stuff like finding the strength to follow your dreams, or the persistence, or feeling safe with your creativity. But one deals with silence. Specifically the silence of not doing any creating. And it’s the most glorious feeling ever. Read More

17 Jul

Beware Burnout! A Survivor’s Tale

Burnout: I couldn't do anything quote

Burnout: I couldn't do anything quoteIt happens. One moment you’re steaming along, juggling ten full time projects, you game designs, family life and your Game of Thrones fansite and the next – BAM – you ram your head into that red brick wall.

It happened to me. I was rocking along, getting a pretty decent career going, and – BAM – one morning I couldn’t get out of bed.

It wasn’t as if the bed had suddenly grown fences but it might as well have. The very act of pulling my leg from the covers and putting it on the floor was too much. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t finish my work, I couldn’t do anything. Read More