Today has been an interesting day. I started it by writing for three hours about a very familiar topic, then came home and wrote for another hour about a very new topic, topping it off with an interview with Dan Allard about writing productivity. It was a writing kind of day.
Then I came across this and I started thinking about why I am capable of getting so much done. Most of what I said in the interview (which I’ll link to here when it’s live) was serious enough. Take your business seriously and don’t treat it like a hobby. Find a routine that works for you. Use software to reduce distractions and stop using Facebook…ever.
But, one thing I forgot to mention and regret a little because I think it’s so important is the idea of having fun. For those that haven’t seen it yet (or any of Google’s other easter eggs), the above link is a search for “zerg rush” in Google. If you’ve ever played Starcraft or Starcraft II the ensuing chaos on screen will give you quite the chuckle. Someone in Mountain View had some free time and put it to good use creating a fun diversion for his coworkers and customers alike.
More importantly, he probably had a blast going to work that day(s) to work on his pet project. In my mind, the only real way to be productive and to ensure you get enough work done is to enjoy it. Because, no matter how productive you are – and you might crush it for weeks at a time – eventually you’re doing to burn out and get bored.
And then your income suffers.
The Fun Factor
I read an eBook a few months ago that said “ignore the advice to find something you enjoy” when you built a new product. I was shocked to read this because everything I had read (and experienced) to date was the exact opposite.
To be fair, the author’s point was that you can’t make money from something just because you enjoy it. You should find a topic that is profitable first, enjoyable second. But the wording was all wrong and people took it that way, creating a bit of a firestorm in his private forum. You can’t create a business in which you have no interest and expect it to succeed, unless of course you are passionate about “business” itself, in which case you can probably sell anything.
In my life this is more true than ever before as I move away from client-based work and try to build my business around information products and branding instead of “my time”. I enjoy the heck out of helping people and when I turn it into a game, it becomes even more fun. I tried to broaden my horizons as a marketer for four years before 2012 started and failed every time.
But, in the last four months I’ve done more than ever before and for good reason. I realized that I enjoyed certain things and so I started focusing on them. They include:
- Numbers! I love tracking numbers and seeing them increase or decrease as I take action. So, playing with squeeze pages and list development has been a blast.
- Video! I also greatly enjoy talking with people about what I do. So, I started doing more video and less writing and it has energized me.
- Partnerships! There is nothing more fun than meeting someone for the first time, building a product and then making a profit…when they’re thousands of miles away. This is awesome fun.
- Variety! I can write about anything I want on my own time, and I do. That’s freedom AND fun 🙂
The bottom line is that when you actively look for ways to turn otherwise mundane activities into fun diversions, work becomes much more interesting. Anyone can love their job; they just need to teach themselves how to do it. Once you do, income becomes less of a barrier than time. You won’t want to stop working!