Redefining Productivity To Fit Your Life’s Goals

It is tough being ambitious and lazy at the same time. Living in a state of constant flux doesn’t do my mind any favors. The battle between the goal-getter and a vibing hippie never seems to end.

This is an example of the inner monologue that is happening inside my head literally every day. “I want to be productive and write my fanfic pieces. However, they aren’t generating any income, so wouldn’t it be more productive to go and write for a paying client? But with freelance work comes a totally different set of responsibilities. Instead of pouring my heart on paper, I’m stuck researching keywords and learning more about topics I care about very little. So even though writing for money is a more fiscally responsible choice, it barely advances me as a writer. From the creative point of view, writing free fanfiction would be more productive.” 

Nothing I can do is ever good enough no matter how much effort it takes and what kind of results it produces. It’s never enough because it could be more – and there always could be more.

We like to think of hard-working people as virtuous by default, and tend to praise high achievers without looking at the full picture of their lives. Wealth, respect, and fame are wonderful accomplishments, but we know little to nothing about these people! Quite often, success comes at a cost of family and friends time, hobbies, and mental health. But we choose to focus on the positive aspects instead. 

“Go and work another 18-hour day,” they say, “and you could be just like them! A myth, a legend, a glorious story to be passed around.” 

In 2010s, this message was so loud that I couldn’t hear my tired consciousness quietly begging for relief. I was miserable throughout most of my twenties, and no amount of goals achieved made me feel happy in any real way. Yes, there were some outbursts of joy (or rather, pride?) but the rest of the time I was just dragging myself to do the work required to pull off the next big thing.

Is it a productive use of one’s time? Hardly. Spending all your energy digging yourself into a deeper hole is, in fact, a very questionable choice. Now, imagine how much one could achieve if they allowed themselves to pursue the things that were truly meaningful to them.

Contrary to what it looks like, I’m not trying to sell you on the idea of universal basic income (although wouldn’t that be nice?). Instead, I’m encouraging you to think about what being productive means to you.

Just like the notion of happiness had to be redefined throughout the pandemic, I think it’s time we redefined productivity. Spending your life in a chore mode will check many boxes off a generic to-do list, but does it really push you further as a human being? Does it advance your character, as in who you want to be as opposed to what you think you should be? People cite discipline and willpower as admirable qualities, but if you use them as a whip that makes you run faster, you’ll feel like an abused circus animal in no time.

So yeah, please consider redefining what productivity actually means to you. We still have to do many unpleasant tasks, but maybe there’s a way we can outsource some of them in favor of doing more enjoyable things. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to engage in soul-sucking activities as much as we’ve been tricked to believe. Maybe life is not meant to be a miserable existence but instead an adventure, and you get to pick what it’s going to look like.

We have to unlearn so much, don’t we? ❤

How to avoid creative burnout

How To Avoid Creative Burnout

I know how burnout feels all too well. It’s the sinking emotion of dread and misery that sits somewhere between my chest and my stomach. It senses like a spring that gets compressed just a bit more every time I think of the task to be done. It is the feeling that makes me wonder if I’m really just lazy, unmotivated, or ungrateful for the opportunities I’ve been offered.

In my experience, nothing about the last sentence is ever true. Turns out, the self-inflicted guilt trips are in vain. It’s never the inherent laziness or lack of motivation that prevents me from “just doing it”; the task simply sucks, and that’s why I have 0 interest in it.

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Overthinking How We Treat Content Creators

As I browse online spaces, it seems like many people seem to be utterly confused about what it means to be creative. Creativity, as well as art, gets divided into two categories – good and bad, worthwhile and a waste of time.

Honestly, it breaks my heart. So many creative people choose to stay inside a safe lane, showing less than they could have. If you’re not sure what I mean, let me give you an example.

A successful portrait artist may stay away from publishing pictures of herself because her online presence is typically all about her art and drawing techniques. Showing her face or, god forbid, her body will lose her followers and gain her a dozen of comments like “I subscribed for your art, not for the bod”.

I didn’t just come up with that story. This is exactly what happened to a fashion illustrator Victoria Kagalovska when she posted a more revealing than usual picture of herself in her Instagram stories. There were hundreds of unfollows.

Before I talk about this case in-depth, let’s take into assumption that no one ever owes anyone a follow on social media. Also, likes and follows on Instagram are not just vanity-driven. These numbers translate into income, a sense of fulfillment, and exposure to new opportunities. This blog is also not about featuring one’s body or not; rather, it’s about accepting that there’s a living human on the other side of the screen, the mastermind that has birthed the works of art that people enjoy (or used to enjoy) so much.

In my opinion, we are now living in an era when there’s a ton of free content available to you at the snap of your fingers. Do you want a free drawing tutorial? You got it, just find a video on Youtube or IGTV. Do you want to ask an artist you’ve been following for years a question about their unique technique? You can now slide into their DMs or ask them in the comments. No problem, easy-peasy. After all, artists want people to know their work and follow them, right? So they’ll do whatever it takes for their audience.

The problem is, the audience… is not exactly loyal anymore. Of course, there are still people who are so fond of their favorite content creators, they’ll follow you across various platforms, and they’ll be your loudest cheerleaders months and years down the line. However, not everyone by far is lucky to have that kind of fans.

Many followers view content creators as a function, for the lack of a better word. It’s fine and it’s understandable, to a degree. After all, you don’t really know this person anyway, right? You’re not attached to them in any way, you just consume their content. And if you see something you don’t like, you can always unsubscribe. Chances are, you’ll find many new content creators that you’ll vibe better with.

And while the paragraph above is factually correct, it is just so… consumerist. You consume artists’ work, you use their content for inspiration and ideas, and the second you don’t like something, you walk out on them. Possibly, after dropping a spiteful “Unsubscribed” message to show how disappointed you really are.

To me, it seems like it’s all take and no give. Instead, there should be a balance or at least something that resembles it. In the ideal world, followers on social media are meant to engage with the content they subscribe to see (i.e. likes, comments, shares, etc). In the perfect world, followers realize that they’re communicating with another human being who gets happy or hurt just like they do. And while I solemnly believe that we’re all responsible for our own reactions and emotions, I still see no good reason for people to openly provoke others by writing mean things online.

And if the content creator decides to come out of their shell just a bit more and show off their personality in a different light, I feel like their audience should be a little more understanding. People should remember that you’re dealing with a person, and a human cannot be simplified down to one function, one type of art, one tiny tight niche. We’re all more complex than that. We have multiple facets: hobbies, music preferences, type of humor, and even alter-egos. A content creator doesn’t owe you to be what you imagined them to be. Just like you don’t owe anything to them, really.

But we don’t live in the perfect world. Internet trolls drop their loads in people’s social media profiles, haters hate, and consumers consume. Gratitude is rare but priceless, and it’s always heartwarming.

Content creators work hard doing what they do. And just like everyone else, they are looking for appreciation, attention, and kindness in return for their work. Money’s also a great perk, but that’s a different topic entirely.

My point is, please remember that content creators are humans. Again, I’m not asking for devotion or following for life, but please don’t treat them like a vending machine either.

And just because you don’t consider selfies worthy of a serious artist (whatever that may mean), they don’t need to evoke a spiteful public response. Just because you hate reading a 500-word essay on the origins of the recipe you’re about to use, doesn’t mean that all food bloggers should stop doing what they’re doing (and what seems to be working well from the SEO standpoint since you have, in fact, found them through a search engine).

All I’m asking for is some slack. If you see a fashion blogger who inspires you to recreate their outfits, let yourself accept the fact that someone will want to advertise products with them. A painter may come out with a line of brushes under their own brand, and even use them regularly in their paintings and how-to videos. And if you have subscribed to an all-around creative person, don’t be turned off when they decide to explore a totally new field. Give the content creator a chance. If you really like their art and trust their judgment, you might actually get exposed to something different and wonderful.

I'm a full-time freelancer now just like this cat who's working hard on his laptop

I’m a Full-Time Freelancer!

I’m a full-time freelance writer now. Yay!

How come, you ask? You’re right; there’s always a story. Usually, it’s a dramatic and inspiring job-quitting saga, or moving-to-a-new-place gritty tale, or coming-of-age self-discovery journey. In my case, however, the story is boring as hell. I live and work in a seasonal town that simply doesn’t have many jobs available between November and May. As a local, you have a choice between moving to a busier location, applying for unemployment, or starting your own business that will bring you income at any time of the year.

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Tools for posting regularly and showing up online

You’re Not Lazy. You Simply Don’t Have The Right Tools. Yet.

Being a solopreneur is exhausting. In the world where content is the king, the workload gets more and more ridiculous. Some people (OK, it’s mostly only Gary Vee) go as far as claim that quantity is more important that quality. I used to be offended by that notion, now I reluctantly tend to agree.

This is the thing: the Internet is getting louder and louder. To stand out, you have to produce something of unsurpassed quality that is better or more innovative than anyone has ever seen before, or simply increase the odds of getting noticed by pumping out more content. And let’s be honest here, #2 is far easier and more realistic for the majority of content creators. It sounds incredibly tedious, but it’s feasible.

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A word you should avoid to become a better blogger

A Word You Should Avoid To Become A Better Blogger

There’s nothing worse than getting through a lazy uninspired blog post that is written for the sake of writing and posting at least something. This one simple fix will make any article you write sound more engaging no matter what you’re writing about and who your audience is!

Read the following paragraph attentively. Can you guess what’s wrong with it?

Blogging has become very competitive. A lot of bloggers put a lot of their time and money into making their blogs very attractive. And although market is very saturated, there are ways to make your blog stand out. Some of them are very easy.

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