On Doing Less and Doing More

Saturday, August 11, 2018
It was incredible timing for Sioux to write a post about being bored. I had been faced with the fact that I needed to start doing less and stop taking on more recently. I needed to let myself get bored.

I'm the type to always have things I'm working on and have to do lists. However, I find that my creativity suffers in the long run and so does my energy. How do we "do" better? How do we unplug and find ways to restore our energy? How do we really make better use of our time?

I decided to put together a few tips to help you figure out where you are putting your time and energy and what to do about it.

1) Ask yourself where you are putting your energy. And I mean, really ask.

About a year ago I realized I needed to remove my Facebook app from my phone. Also, those games on my computer had to go recently too. It was kind of tough because in my head I told myself this stuff gave me a mental break. Yet, I also had to recognize that I spent way too much time there and way too much emotional energy as well. If I'm being honest, I'd rather spend an hour writing a blog post and reading blogs than scrolling through my Facebook feed. Blog posts inspire me, Facebook sends me down a black hole.

Maybe you aren't putting a lot of your energy in distractions like me, but really take a look at where your energy goes and ask yourself if you can cut back or cut down. Once I started cutting back, I saw an immediate boost in my creative energy.

2) Prioritize projects.

When I'm doing a project, whether it's an article for someone or something more extensive, I tend to not like to piecemeal the activity. However, I recently took on the approach of doing piece by piece. I broke down the project and gave myself deadlines along the way. Not only was I able to get the small parts done more efficiently with better quality, it ended up maintaining my sanity.

3) Giving yourself a break. A real one.

I do enjoy reading books to review for people, but a couple of months ago, I realized I wasn't reading anything that I chose on my own to read. Reading is a way for me to escape and it gives me a mental break. Lately, I've started to give myself a break and read more of what I'm choosing to read. I've noticed a significant difference in my own mental energy by doing that.

But I'm not just reading. I'm also journaling more. Staring more. Just like Sioux said earlier in the week, I'm giving myself the chance to be bored.

Once you start cutting back on what you are doing, whether it's distractions or simply by starting to say no to extra projects, you will find that the time you are giving to your work, whether it's writing or something else, you have far more energy for it. It isn't an overnight process, but bit by bit, you will notice a change in your creative energy.

Where do you need to cut back? How do you give yourself a real break?

Visit Nicole Pyles on her blog, The World of My Imagination, to find out more about her writing journey. 


Sioux Roslawski said...

Nicole--For me, reading is a break, too. I read a lot of stuff for work--and it's almost always books I choose--but novels give me the chance to escape.

In the last few weeks I've become a firm believer. When I turn off the TV (which is often just background noise), I forge ahead with greater productivity. I've taken a break from blogging. I'm trying to check my email less often.

Thanks for the link, and good luck with getting bored. ;)

Angela Mackintosh said...

Nicole, I love that you're building on Sioux's post, and this is a great, specific list! I tend to tackle an entire project until it's done and it always drains me. This week I've broken up projects into several days with manageable tasks and it's allowed me to save some energy for creating. I spend too much time staring at computer, TV, and phone screens--for work and writing--so I'm changing things up a bit and painting, which is a slow activity and actually recharges me.

I take a lot of classes and almost all the material I read is something I wouldn't have chosen on my own, but I find reading assigned work pushes my boundaries and helps me grow as a writer. That said, I definitely prefer choosing my own books to read! I'm curious, what are you reading now? I just ordered Educated by Tara Westover for my own personal reading, and I'm also currently reading How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, and next week I'm starting a class where we're reading Madness by Marya Hornbacher.

Isn't it a relief to not check Facebook all the time? I found FB stressful and had to disable my account a while back.

Thanks for the post, and have an amazing, boring day. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Sioux - absolutely! When I'm not "multi-tasking" I actually do more! Me letting myself get bored is such an incredible challenge but I'm determined to stick with it!

@Angela - good point on books! I find when I am reading a book I'm reviewing or outside of my comfort zone it definitely opens my eyes to other kinds of writing and genres and I have found some excellent indie books that way! Those books you are reading sound good by the way! Right now I'm reviewing a book called Wrongful Death by a blogger I know R.D. Meyer and for myself I'm reading Plague a YA book that's been amazing as a series so far (this is book 4) but I find as I'm reading this one I'm kind of bored by circumstances (maybe cause the characters are?) And cutting down on Facebook helps me so much (once you start on the feed scroll, it just doesn't stop!)

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