So after the figuring-out-that-you’re-unhappy and the working-on-it and the exploring-ways-to-be-happier and the changing-things-in-your-life and then figuring-out-that-you-gain-happiness-from-personal-growth and the working-on-that and then getting-frustrated-you-don’t-know-what-to-get-better-at and the reading-books-on-that and the exploring-different-options and then the changing-your-life-with-fewer-distractions and gaining-more-discipline and finding-out-more-what-you-like-doing and then working-at-it and working-at-it and working-at-it and feeling-pretty-good-because-you’re-disciplined-and-working-on-stuff and also understanding-that-you-can-enjoy-the-process-not-just-a-finished-product and experiencing-general-satisfaction-and-wellbeing (breath!) maybe, just maybe, you get to a day where you’re-putting-work-into-things-but-don’t-really-have-anything-to-show-for-it and maybe, just maybe, you think: What will make me feel like I’ve actually done something / gotten somewhere / got something to show for my work? And you think about it and decide: I need to have a “ship” list. And: I need to figure out what I can produce, at the end of the day/week/month/year, that will make me feel like I’ve gotten somewhere and made something. And ship it!
P.s. We received the first feedback from one of our trial run customers and it was very positive, which is excellent! I’ve registered the business name and all that shebang, so now we are working on finalising the product and suppliers and costs and so on. I guess all my life I’ve been accustomed to making things in companies, so when you think up an idea, you have various people making it happen, and you have a project timeline that seems entirely reasonable – plan all phases, work on phase 1, prototype, test, phase 1 launch, refine, work on phase 2, prototype, test, phase 2 launch, refine, etc. But when it’s just a couple of people, and it’s not your full-time job… whoa! That timeline looks BONKERS. Like, it’s going to take years until you have a product together! Okay then. I’ll keep working.
A million years ago, I used to make little graphics for my websites, and I’d lose millions of hours doing it (in a good way). I’ve spent my spare minutes this week ~lost in the flow~ playing around with graphics, ideas, colours, shapes, fonts.
When I (almost accidentally) read The Happiness Project back in 2012 and thought it was fantastic and started working on being happier, I did some exercises here and there (from The Happiness Project, from The Artist’s Way, from other books) on how do I lose time / what is my flow. I was constantly stuck answering that question, because I had made my sensible adult life efficient and devoid of frivolous meandering – I was good at UX, so why would I code anymore, why would I do any graphic design anymore, why would I make music anymore, why would I make videos anymore? (etc.)
I thought, if I couldn’t answer that exercise question, then I must be really hopeless. I thought I should know the answer immediately. And if I didn’t know the answer, maybe I hadn’t even found my thing yet. Which was also kind of awful, because I didn’t know how to go about looking for my thing.
Four years later though, I see how long it’s taken me to get here, to relearn all this stuff that I used to enjoy. Four years to un-efficient myself and to be OK dawdling for hours making graphics and coming up with names for potential products and planning and brainstorming ideas and creating gifts.
I recently read The Dance of the Possible: the mostly honest completely irreverent guide to creativity by Scott Berkun, and the first chapters (I think about the first five chapters?) were great, and Berkun mentions this phenomenon about how we become more efficient as we Adult, and how we stop wasting time/exploring/playing. Yup.
My spare minutes have been spent on my small business idea. Yesterday, Alison and I packaged up our product prototype for our 3 “trial run” customers. We’ll get feedback from them about whether the product is fun, not-fun, or a complete dud, and go from there. (Or back to the drawing board.)
In the meanwhile, I have loads to do. We have to keep working on the rest of the product. I have an idea for another product that I can prototype. And I have to register a business name and all that shebang. Yikes!
There’s actually so much I could be doing that it’s hard to focus. But I keep remembering the phrase it’s not about the end result, it’s about enjoying the process, and Y+E+S. I am enjoying it. I’m in the flow, I’m thinking about it all the time, I get more ideas all the time. :):):):)