Confession: I am not a fan of organization. I don’t like planning much either. I like making things up as I go more than Indiana Jones.
Some days, it feels like the closest I can get to being organized is playing a game of Tetris.
I know what you’re thinking–How the HECK are you a full time writer and coach?
I continually strive to make things as simple as possible.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
I don’t write two books at a time, I write one book at a time.
Otherwise, I have a folder full of partially written books. (True story.)
Okay, now I know what you’re thinking–That’s nice you write books Jim. I still don’t know what the heck I’m supposed to do. That’s the problem–I have TONS of interests because I’m a multipotentialite.
And that’s fine–totally get that.
But here’s the thing–you can only do one thing at a time.
The real problem is fear.
You are afraid you will choose the wrong project.
Fear makes you confused and drains your mental energy.
It’s really difficult to make good decisions when you’re listening to fear.
Fear loves to tell you extreme scenarios.
Fear says things like, “if you go out and shoot some photos, all you can ever do is be a photographer.”
Or if you land a gig shooting pictures at a wedding, “you will be in a monkey suit sweating your butt off taking pictures of angry bridezillas forever! Muhhahaha!”
Well, at least that’s what fear tells me. I don’t even own a camera other than my phone. I make up one hypothetical wedding shoot in my mind and suddenly I am in eternal wedding hell.
Sure, this sounds incredibly stupid to write out, but this is what fear tells us. And then somehow these off-the-wall thoughts are accepted as truth in our minds.
To move forward, you must block out fear and do what you want to do in the simplest way possible.
Here’s the good news: you can use fear as a compass for which projects you should do.
Don’t believe the lies. A lie with an ounce of truth is still a lie.
When you hear negative voices say, “Hello fear, I know you’re there. I’m gonna do this anyways.”
Those two sentences are fear repellant. Don’t believe me? Try it. Go ahead, talk to yourself. If anyone picks on you, (99.99% sure they won’t) just tell them you’re an artist.
So here’s what to do
1. Pick one thing that scares you and try it out.
2. Experiment and set simple guidelines for it.
3. See if you like it.
That’s it. Not too bad, right?
If you like what you are doing, keep doing it and add on another angle.
So for this example let’s say you like blogging. To add on a new angle you could include photography by taking pictures with your phone to use on your blog.
Since one interest flows directly into the other, you get a snowball effect.
The challenge lies in that you can not continually add more and more projects on your plate. This is not an all-you-can-eat buffet.
You can only pursue three or four creative projects at one time. Any more and you will get overwhelmed or put out work that is lacking in quality. Your attention is finite.
You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. There is no shame in this AT ALL.
If you’re still not sure, try talking it out with someone you trust. I’d be absolutely honored to help you–just hit me up. Getting support for the journey is absolutely vital to your success.
Talking it out–even mentioning your doubts or fears– can propel you forward like nothing else.
Keeping it all in your head often leads to more confusion. Fear loves to attack you with those nasty nagging voices in your head. (My bad inner voices often sound a lot like Nickelback.)
When I wrote Hit The Mark with Erik Fisher, we’d talk on the phone for hours and just hash things out. By asking question after question, we could then explain and analyze the content. See if there was anything missing and even plan out what move to make next.
But don’t let talking it out become resistance, stopping you in your tracks.
Once you have a game plan and you have clarity–attack it like Cookie Monster with a plateful of cookies. Darn it, now I’m hungry.
See cookie, eat cookie. That’s it. Got it? Good.
What Pursuing Several Interests Looks Like for Me
Honestly, I have several routines I’m rolling with now in this season of life. This is like the super-simplified version of Michael Hyatt’s Ideal Week schedule but here you go:
My freelance writing is done primarily on Monday and Tuesday, revisions are then done on Friday, from 10AM-12PM.
I write blog posts and work on a book in the evenings usually from around 9PM-1AM.
Coaching calls and podcast interviews in the afternoon, Monday through Friday usually from 12PM-5PM.
Most days I play guitar for about 20-30 minutes from between 4PM-5PM.
This is how my life looks right now. It’s all subject to change. Nothing is written in stone.
With this approach, I have freedom and flexibility. If you take away one thing from this post, it is this:
Keeping things simple is the best way to go.
What you think is simple may not be simple to me. Figure out the way your mind works and don’t fight it–especially if you are a multipod. If you must have deadlines, put firm deadlines and have someone hold you accountable.
Simplicity is the ultimate fear fighter and also the approach that allows you to get more done.
Do you think it is fear holding you back or is it maybe something else?
How do you keep things simple?