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Creators' Corner #19 - un-busy yourself, write usefully and two small wins

John Nicholas
John Nicholas
5 min read
Creators' Corner #19 - un-busy yourself, write usefully and two small wins
Photo of the week: holiday mode. Feeling relaxed after a week off in the South of France. Morning runs to the half-island in the distance were one of many highlights.

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Line-up this week:

  1. Quote of the week
  2. Un-busy yourself
  3. A tip for other creators
  4. Articles of the week
  5. Two small wins

1. Quote of the week

“Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call ‘life’ was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans

Life is much more malleable than we think it is. By stepping into the arena and creating your own things you can also take part in shaping the world.

Tools of Titans is a brilliant book btw. Biggest takeaway was that 80% of the people Tim interviewed – some of the biggest names in business, sport and entertainment – meditate on a daily basis.


2. Un-busy yourself

It's important to un-busy yourself.

In a world where productivity and eeking out the most value from every moment is revered, it's easy to fall into the trap of always being "switched on". Plugged into headphones, jumping between calls, scrolling Instagram and listening to podcasts at 2x speed. This is who I used to be as a consumer of information.

Ever since making the shift to being a creator, I've really valued building in moments of silence in my life. Not plugging in my headphones when I go for a walk. Not always being on or always being connected.

In these quiet moments my best ideas often shine through. It's important to switch off the switch on.

Un-busy yourself so you can open up to receiving new ideas.

David Perell wrote a great article on this called Against 3X speed. I've also shared my advice on being less distractible. Link here:

Distraction and a Ray of Hope
What if we could monitor healthy internet habits? What if we could measurecortisol and dopamine levels similar to how we measure glucose levels? What ifwe could measure distractibility? I don’t have a solution yet, but in thefuture, we may just need to find one. A little

3. A tip for other creators: write with your audience in mind

The replies to the tweet were also spot on. I particularly enjoyed Paolo's take:

"When building products --> What do they need to use instead of what do I want to build. What do they want to buy instead of what do I want to sell them."

This is an important mindset shift. Especially if you want to make a career as a creator.


4. Articles of the week

Here are two articles I enjoyed reading this week. In line with the two themes above.

1. The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed by Morgan Housel

The Advantage Of Being A Little Underemployed
To realize how outdated the five-day, 40-hour workweek is, you have to know where it came from. Before 1900 the average American worker worked more than 60 hours a week. A standard schedule was ten-hour days, six days a week. The only structural limits to working were lighting and religion. You stop…

Highlights:

  • Modern knowledge workers are still working according to an old industrial model set out for railway workers 100 years ago. 5 days a week, 9 hours a day.
  • This is not how our brains perform best. Our best ideas often come to us when we aren't busy. Being a little underemployed (not going at full speed constantly) can help creativity.
  • Amos Tversky, the late collaborator of Nobel-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman, once said:
"The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.”

2. Brag Doc: Why and How? by Janahan Sivaraman

Brag Doc: Why and How?
I started keeping a Brag Doc at work in Aug 2018. I learned about them from Julia Evans on Twitter. The premise is simple. You’re already doing awesome work, therefore, you should get recognized for it. Since I started, I’ve been promoted every year - except for 1.

Summary. Keeping a Brag Doc at work can:

  • help you during performance reviews
  • get you promoted
  • ensure a smooth transition during management changes

Such great advice from Jay here. A good example of writing with your audience in mind. I can't wait to start tracking this for my own career.


5. Small Wins

Celebrating two small wins this week:

  1. My first speaking gig: I've been invited to speak at an actuarial conference later this year. Over 4,000 people attended the previous conference. I'll be speaking about increasing your luck surface area and how writing can advance your career.
  2. My first workshop hosting opportunity: A writing friend of mine asked me to co-host a Writing x Coaching workshop with him in the coming month. This will be my first time hosting a writing workshop and it feels like a great stepping stone towards creating my own course one day.

I'll share more details once I can.

Have a great week and happy creating.

-- John


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