【Productivity】The only realistic goal is to do your best

2020.03.22 North Rhine-Westphalia, written by Kuna

What usually happens in workplaces is setting goals whose achievements can be verified and reasonable. One example might be: growth of 5% in 3 months.

Even browsing online, you can find tips over tips on how to plan action in the proper way. After all, we don’t want to fail our goals, and not having goals might not lead us where we want.

And there’s nothing wrong with all this. But with this post I’d like to focus on another important part of working towards your goal: the everyday process a creator goes through.

Disclaimer: A leader must have the end in mind

In the “7 Habits of High Effective People” written by Covey, habit two states: Begin with the end in mind. A goal is your general direction, after all. If you’re working on a project, you ideally know what you want the final product to look like.

This also implies that you’ve already decided that you want to finish your project.

For many years I started working on comics, doujinshi, etc. and then dropping them whenever a new project with more appeal to me showed up on my way. In all those cases, I never had the goal to finish anything, I was just having fun drawing and creating stories.

And there’s nothing bad with it! Loose practice and exploration are essential aspects of creativity, growth and a stress-less life. What I mean with this disclaimer is: whenever you plan to work with a final goal in mind as opposite of working aimlessly, think of the end you wish to achieve as an important part of your plan.

That being said, I’d like to talk about the actual process to put in action.

In any moment, you have control on the process and not the result

You can fantasize on the desired “final product” of your efforts as much as you want, but, ultimately, you don’t have 100% control on how it will turn out. And this is where the process comes in handy!

For example, I have a certain degree of control on how Pitch Black Serenade will look like as a game: how the story unfolds, the character interactions, the art, etc. But no way I can be sure of the reception it will have! Will many people enjoy it? Will there be some other popular game coming out that will put mine in the shadow?

However hopeless this might sound, I have complete power on the input I inject every day in PBS‘s veins (!). The art I draw, the scenes I write, whether I hire a pro UI artist or I just doodle the UI myself.

The process is that other aspect that you can control as opposite to an uncertain result. And, more importantly, the process is your own very life during the entire time of the development of your product.

The process is the fun you have while working

The “you achieving your goal” will be just one single moment someday in the future. A couple of hours or so. After that, some other related works or events might follow, and that will be a completely different story.

Before that moment though, you will spend weeks, months or even years working on your project. Will you be spending the entire time thinking of that faraway day or will you create a comfortable present to live in during the production time?

We’re not talking about living in a fancy house or eating tasty courses here. Instead, the focus is on creating your own daily routine, one that you feel good about it and that lets you be productive and satisfied. It might be something very simple, like just waking up in your bed and jump at your desk, while other people might enjoy going for a run before tackling their tasks; it might be the people you interact with, the content you consume, etc.

The process is the learning while you proceed

I spent two years working on the demo for PBS. When I started it was difficult to exactly imagine the final version, which aspects of my life would have changed, and so on.

On one hand I wanted to fast forward and have the demo ready to further progress from there. However, if I really could have just materialized the demo on my PC, I would have missed tons of things on my way there.

There are simply so many solutions you need to find while proceeding, that learning new information is unavoidable. Some of the problems I’ve faced and the answers I’ve found are:

■ How can I come back from day job and still have the energy to work? – Go to the gym and get stronger.

■ How can I maximize my time working on my project when day job takes so much hours away? – One part of the solution was: give away all the clothes that need a particular program in the washing machine. Less time for the laundry = more time to work : )

If PBS‘ demo would have simply been given to me, I wouldn’t have encountered those problems, I wouldn’t have looked for solutions, and learnt along the way.

Many who have learned
from Hesiod the countless names of gods and monsters
never understand
that night and day are one.
– Heraclitus

In other words, learning about practical life is always invaluable. Each of us has their own experiences and, because of that, is knowledgeable in some fields of life.

You can absolutely get *there*, so don’t get jealous

In “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”, Manson wrote that he was fascinated about the idea of becoming a rock star, but that he didn’t enjoy practicing the guitar. This is the experience he used to explain the difference between being in love with the result as opposed of enjoying the process to get there.

I’m not a whatsoever brilliant and acclaimed illustrator, and never went to art school. In a nutshell, for at least half of my life, merely drawing out of passion, my anatomy was terrible and my characters appeared flawed when mirrored : )

However, to many people it looked like a was very good at drawing because, at the same time, I was producing decent art and I could use art programs and art tools swiftly. If you enjoy spending time alone and feel satisfaction from drawing and coloring, it won’t be difficult for you to understand that I was just passionate about it and this alone was enough to get me going.

Since I’ve been drawing for my entire life, despite not being a pro at it, I could go pretty far and I can now easily learn new techniques. Just because it’s been a lifetime hobby and I’ve dedicated thousands of hours to it, I can now reap juicy fruits out of it.

While it took my entire life to get where I am, there are also artists that turned from not being able to draw to amazing illustrators in just a couple of years. They simply put the hours in. They did it consciously, they loved art. They enjoyed the learning process, the challenges, and the routine every illustration put you into.

The good news is: wherever you want to get you can get there : )

Someone else, on this big planet, might be ahead of you.

Or maybe, you might be very acclaimed for your skills inside your little circle of friends, and this made you stop improving a long time ago. Then, one day, you meet new pals that are far ahead in your discipline.

Don’t get bitter. It’s never too late to put the effort and the hours. However, it’ll soon be too late if bitterness and jealously become your constant mindset, as that not only is a serious obstacle for improvement, but it also gets bigger and bigger if not taken care of.

The only realistic goal is to do your best

A recap of this article:

■ The goal is just a direction. Choose where you want to get and plan the work needed. And then, focus on your daily input: devote the best effort you are capable of in that moment. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

■ You don’t know if your expectations will be met, but you have full control on the effort you put in: quality, quantity, changes, research, etc.

■ Love the process that will get you to your goal. If you’re writing a book, love the daily routine of sitting and writing; if you’re an artist, love the challenge of what you’re painting, and so on. Love the moments when you’re taking a break, cuddle yourself with a tea or whatever little pleasure you like. Do it day after day and this will make you life enjoyable, even without having your goal already accomplished : )

■ Be curious about the things you’re going to learn on the way. Be interested in finding solutions to the practical problems that your goal is bringing up. It is part of it, after all, and the process of solving will enrich your life.

■ You can get wherever you want if you put hours and effort. Moreover, what you do today impacts your future. So, instead of getting jealous or bitter, do your best : )

That’s all, thank you for reading.

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