Habits > tasks

Habits > tasks

(Estimated reading time: less than a minute)

Last week I let a few of my habits slip. This is quite unusual for me, but it’s not unheard of. Flicking through my journal I noticed that when I get myself into a ‘funk’, it’s often linked to changes in my routines. This includes irregular entries in my journal.

I know that things like exercise can have a direct bearing on productivity and creativity. But why would a dip in my photography practice be associated with reduced performance?

The best answer that I can come up with is:- regular habits create a rhythm that helps with juggling demands. I’d be intrigued if anyone has other ideas or is aware of any research in this area.

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Your greatest hits

Your greatest hits

Recently, I heard the photographer Joe McNally talking on the Chase Jarvis podcast. Joe was describing an annual event that he attended regularly. He and the other participants were asked to bring 5 photos to introduce themselves. Joe decided that he would bring his 5 best shots from the previous year – rather than a lifetime portfolio.

(I intend to adapt (or steal) this is idea for my own photoblog. Essentially, I plan to do an end of year ‘highlights reel’.)

This concept bubbled to the top of my mind during a conversation this week. I was having a chat with a colleague who was feeling a bit flat. They were (in my words) in the doldrums. They were struggling to find any positives in their work. Everything seemed mundane or sub-standard. As I teased out a couple of the examples highlighted, it became clear that:

  • they were being unduly hard on themself;
  • there were elements of good work in the midst of their gloominess;
  • they were able to recall other, recent examples of great work.

As I reflected on our conversation later, I asked myself, “What are my ‘greatest hits’?” “When did I last do some great work?”

Then I realised that too often we focus our thoughts on what goes wrong, rather than what goes well. Yes, we learn from errors and experimentation, but we need to stay motivated and maintain a degree of confidence.

So, the next time you’re feeling a bit down, or when you’re talking to someone in that mindset, ask about your greatest hits and see where the conversation leads.

 

(extra)ordinary days

A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.

Goethe

It’s easy to look at our days, feel they are a bit humdrum, and place responsibility for this state of affairs with someone else – family commitments, unreasonable workload, etc, etc. And, yes, there are days when the ordinary is what needs to be faced.

But, if you’re experiencing a succession of such days, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror. Who is responsible, in your life, for the

  • interest?
  • fun?
  • adventure?
  • disruption?
  • challenge?
  • turbulence?
  • stretch?
  • curiosity?

If you’re feeling stuck, pick one of those topics and spend your day actively looking for it. Put some energy into it and you’ll reap the rewards. Or, be a victim, join our disgruntled and grunting teenager’s lament of ‘this is boring’ and live an ordinary life.

Slow and great

A short entry as we (in Scotland) go back to work at the start of a new year.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Mahatma Gandhi

Slow down a bit, consider your purpose, examine your intentions and make sure that the work that you are doing is great.

How about making this the year of slow and great, rather than fast and good?

… effective rather than merely efficient?

… focussed rather than flurried?

… making a difference rather than managing a quota?

(Adapt the concept to whatever environment you work in.)