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How to deal with burn out? Am I just being a b*tch?

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by SvvyDO, Mar 3, 2018.

  1. SvvyDO
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    SvvyDO Shooting til it hits Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    So working on my 5th and final revision of my first ebook (70k+ words) for the past 6-8 months, I have a couple days where I can't get anything done no matter how hard I try, and even if I do, the quality is subpar...

    So I've been thinking... Is it just all in my head? Is it something I can push through?

    I know if I'm working on technical things like web development, and advertisement stuff I don't really get this feeling of having a brick wall between my brain... (or maybe I do, but I subconsciously power through it unknowingly..)

    Regardless, I hear of people working crazy hours on things without end, and I'm curious how they do it.

    I mean, sure I've worked crazy hours too (had 14+ hour days before), but usually after those longer hour days, I crash the next day and my work progress moves to a crawl compared to the hours I put in.

    I've been really trying to increase my work capacity because of how much more I'll be able to get done throughout the day (but always hit this brick wall feeling)... I'm also really thinking about switching to e-commerce after this one too because of how much the fatigue slows me down... Or perhaps I'll get a ghost writer for the second book instead--or maybe at least an editor... :inpain:

    Anyways, how do you guys deal with the mental fatigue--do you even get mental fatigue?

    Does your work capacity eventually increase to the point where you can pump out 8-10 hour days no problem?

    I don't know how you guys do it @ChickenHawk & @MJ DeMarco :blank:
     
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  2. Dave E RDN
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    Dave E RDN Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Maybe you just need a short break. Do something to take you mind off your work and focus on you for a day or two.

    No one can go hard 24/7. There has to be a balance between producing and improving or recharging your ability to produce.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  3. Fpm9
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    Fpm9 Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I usually take a week off the gym every 12 to 16 weeks to give my CNS and joints a break. When I come back to the gym, I feel more motivated but not any weaker.

    I do the same thing for work when I feel like I need a break, but I don't stay at home doing nothing. I travel, spend time with friends, do fun things.. usually after 4 or 5 days I am physically exhausted but I am excited to go back to work on my projects.
     
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  4. The Racing Driver
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    The Racing Driver Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Ditto. I feel the same way after doing too many hours in a day. My gas tank is depleted and I don't do my best work the next day. (I write as well)

    I'm an athlete and I also freelance. I often find I need 9 hours of sleep some days to feel rested. I can barely function on 6-7 hours of sleep.

    Scaling your results with the help of others or by using systems could be a good start. I'm also working on finding ways to build a business that relies less on me.

    Would be interested to know how some of you guys deal with mental fatigue or avoid it.
     
  5. Tiger TT
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    Tiger TT Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    There is a book called "How To Write A Lot" written by Paul J. Silvia. I'm writing according to advice from that book.

    Also I use the countdown timer on my phone and set it up to 1 hour. So I don't have to check the time constantly.

    This is what I do basically:

    1. I schedule my writing days/time.

    It's only 5 days. And 1 hour on those days. This is a very easy goal to achive. So I usually have no trouble writing. And if I feel like writing more than 1 hour, then I write longer.

    I think the important thing is not how much or how long you write, but how consistantly you write.

    2. I ruthlessly defend my writing schedule. After all, it's only 1 hour per day. Easy to defend.

    3. I monitor my writing.

    I keep a scoreboard by monitoring how much I write and for how long.

    4. I set a specific goal like "I'll write 400 words today" for every session. Or 200 words. I set easy to achive goals, so that I sit down and write. Sometimes my goal is only to sit down to write.

    I used to write at home, but since last month I can't do that. I feel depressed at home. So I go to my favorite coffee shop. Now I'm productive again.

    I'll continue writing at that coffee shop until I can't. Then I'll probably find another location.

    So changing the place you write may also help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
  6. OlivierMo
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    I'm in software development and the brick wall between the ears is mental fatigue. The brain is like a muscle. You work it a lot, it needs to rest. Actually brain functions require a lot of energy and you may want to up your proteins and good fat. I can code 8-10 hours a day top. Even after 6 hours the quality of my work diminishes.
     
  7. silentownage001
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    silentownage001 Contributor

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    I recently finished Jim Collins's Great By Choice for school and this thread immediately made me think of a concept from it: 20-mile march. Even if you can go further on some days, you hold back to conserve your energy. Instead you consistently move forward each day without having to skip days.

    Mid-way through this page is a section titled "The 20-Mile March". If you read from there to the end he cites a number of real life examples to back up the ideas.
    Jim Collins - Articles - How to Manage Through Chaos
     
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  8. WJK
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    WJK Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    You are perfectly demonstrating the rule of diminishing return. As your brain gets tired, the quality of your work declines. I have found that working in short bursts, with regular breaks that include other types of a activities, is a lot more productive. It's not the daily total of the hours, it's the pacing and lack of diversity.
     
  9. steelandchrome
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    steelandchrome Author of The Retail Leader Book. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I took a year off between starting and finishing my book. I got burned out and was thinking the quality was not what I had planned when I started so I stopped cold turkey and gave up for that entire year. I then started seeing a lot of action taker posts on here and said to myself that I was going to finish it no matter what. I set the goal of just writing a chapter or two a day every day off from my day job and that got me to the finish line. If I tried on top of work days I am sure it would have taken longer and not been as good.

    Good luck either way and hope you finish it!

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Busy Muse
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    Busy Muse Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Mental fatigue can be very real.
    Speaking of writing books in particular, I found a few pain points:
    -fatigue on the daily work -> this can be counteracted with writing in shorter bursts, making sure to hydrate during the day, taking breaks, doing other activities to replenish and "distract" the brain, and getting good rest and exercise.
    -fatigue on the whole work -> once you start working on a single project (like a full book) for a longer time, you get "tired" of it, especially during the middle (especially for fiction, where the "boring middle" is a often-experienced lull by writers) and by the end. This is due in part by the fact that you are constantly working on the same content for weeks/months/years and of course you get bored and tired of it, at least in part. It helps to get a break from it, especially between the first draft and subsequent editing/drafting/polishing. One thing you can (and should, really) do is get an editor to do at least one type of editing (content / line / copy) so get a pair of experienced and neutral pair of eyes on the work (and get a break from it).

    In general, of course we can all improve our productivity and the quantity of our output, but really, the gauge should be quality. Working for 10 hours each day and then needing to do 6 months of revision might not be the ideal equation to follow.
    Apart from this book in particular, since it's pretty much "done", I can also suggest you try some/any of the following for your next writing projects:
    -outline before writing the content. Works wonders especially for non-fiction. Allows you to have a clearer view of what you need to accomplish, reduce waddling around while writing, and makes it easier to organize and edit content.
    -try dictating instead of typing. You can do that while you go for a walk, which it's always nice, for example. Ends up usually faster as far as words per minute.
    -Really look into hiring an editor for at least one pass so you get a break and someone else can do some of the work.

    I am not sure of the type of writing you are doing (fiction, non-fic, genre, etc) so I tried to be general, but could give more if you want for specific types of writing.
    In any case, hope it helps -sorry for the wall of text!
    And well done for writing the book in the first place!
     
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  11. jon.M
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    jon.M Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Think of your brain as a muscle. It's got limited energy and every task that requires some mental power drains your brain.

    I currently read "Brand Seduction", and the author once mentioned a study where test persons were divided in two groups. They were asked to memorize two different strings of numbers.

    Group #1 had a quite easy string to remember, with only a few digits. Group #2 had a harder one with 7 digits.

    And after they tried to memorize the strings, they were offered a snack. Fruit salad -- a healthy choice -- or chocolate cake -- sugary, unhealthy but oh so tasty.

    One of the groups was more inclined to choose the chocolate cake. Guess which one?

    Group #2

    The theory was that performing a mentally taxing task, like remembering something long and complex, actually made the brain perform worse afterwards. In this case it lead to lower self-discipline.

    ---

    Earlier I likened the brain to a muscle. You mention 8-10 hour work days.

    Working your muscles out for 8 hours a day is extremely unusual. Even among elite powerlifters and weightlifters.

    So why don't you consider yourself an elite brain-athlete?

    • When you train at a gym, you don't lift a dumbbell up and down for 1 hour straight. You take small but frequent rest periods between sets. This enables you to keep lifting similar weights during your next set, instead of remaining drained and severely lowering your performance during the rest of your workout session.

    (Your gym is your office. Your sport is entrepreneurship.)

    • When you're not at the gym, you eliminate all unnecessary distractions, choices and emotionally draining tasks. For example, listen to this interview with Arnold:



    • When you sleep, you try to get good, high-quality sleep. I've spoken to people who feel wonderful with just 5 hours of sleep every night, partly thanks to that they sleep well.

    Don't ingest caffeine 5 hours from your bedtime -- even though you might not feel "alert" from the caffeine, it still lowers the quality of your sleep. Keep regular sleeping habits. Sleep in a cool, dark room. Have a decent matress. Block the blue light from your screens in the evening. If you snore, you'll need to do something about that.

    • Do some weightlifting and cardio a few times a week. I picked this up two months ago -- after a long hiatus -- and I feel it allows me to work longer without seeing that drop in energy and output.

    • Eat well. No need for a complete overhaul of your diet. Just make sure to eat enough, and that you ingest a decent amount of vitamins and minerals every day.

    • And then, we're humans and there is a ceiling to what we're able to do. You can deal with extremely high-stress periods, but that requires you to have some low-stress periods as well.
     
  12. SvvyDO
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    SvvyDO Shooting til it hits Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Wow, thanks for the amazing responses!

    I'm glad I wasn't the only one experiencing mental fatigue, it's always a pleasure to receive insights from others. :innocent: :halo:

    I'm also glad to hear that there's a good number of athletes on here. I'm into powerlifting myself, so I can understand where you guys are coming from.

    I've just had this bright idea that you'd be able to increase your brain work capacity to tolerate higher workloads... (Just as how your work capacity increases as the stronger you get.)

    ...But maybe I was just driving myself into the ground with unreal expectations. :inpain:


    I haven't read the book you're talking about, but isn't just 1 hour a day really slow progress?:blank:

    200-400 words a day seems extremely slow, heck even 800 words a day seems very slow to me.

    If I don't get through 1500 words a day, I'd feel like I didn't do anything... :happy:


    I can feel you on changing up your location though, that's probably what I'm going to do just to give myself some new scenery. :blush:

    Yuup. That's me right there.

    First draft was exhilarating, second was okay, and after the third it started getting very dull... And now I'm smack dab in the middle of the book with it's final revision and I'm bored to sh*ts :rofl::rofl:

    I initially wasn't going to go through so many revisions, but my test ads preferred a specific cover page, and I'm just blending the content to match the cover :bored:


    Really though, the past week or two I've really been thinking of ways to delegate all these tasks because after learning the in's-and-out's (of launching a business), I've learned that there's no way I'll be able to do everything myself if I really want to scale at a fast rate.

    And although I've grown to love writing, I enjoy the marketing aspect a lot more (sales background)... And if the numbers made sense, I wouldn't mind delegating 100% of the writing if I could :rofl::rofl:


    Later on I'll figure out a way to get some helping hands on the product development portion.
    (I think I've figured it out for ecommerce though, so that's most likely going to be something I'll jump into in the near future :smuggy:)

    Oh yeah, and it's a non-fiction :playful:

    Thanks for your input :p
    You seem like an experienced writer, and i'm always open to suggestions from those that have been in the game longer than me! (Which is a lot more people than how I make it sound :rofl:)

    In a way, I was thinking like an elite brain athlete. I was working to increase my work capacity to handle higher work loads. :happy:

    But if you think about it...

    Using your brain 8+ hours a day isn't very unusual where I live.

    I live in Silicon Valley where the rents are extremely high and you have software engineers pulling in 8-10 hour days 5-6 days week... If they can do it, why can't I?

    Also when I visited South Korea 8 months back, I marveled at their work ethic.

    Being SUPER competitive over there, they work longer hours of 10+ hours a day 6 days a week (as the norm)... My uncle worked 7 days a week for YEARS.

    And that again got me thinking... If they can do it, why can't I?

    Just thinking of how much you can get done--AND how fast--just makes you :eek::eek:


    Haha, but who knows how much quality work they're actually putting out... As of now, I'll definitely listen to my fatigue more and "auto-regulate" the work when necessary, driving yourself into the ground probably isn't practical for the long haul :playful:
     
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  13. Busy Muse
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    Busy Muse Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    There are many ways to delegate during the writing-publishing-marketing process of a book, I am sure there are many tasks you could give to others to streamline your own workload and play to your strengths!
    I basically do this as a freelancer (offering some of the services needed). Most self-published authors use a variety of different "external" people: some do the writing part but then give drafts to editors and proofreaders, buy covers, use launching services, etc.
    Even the writing can be outsourced to ghostwriters.
    For me personally I love the writing bit, and doing the covers and many other things, but there are plenty of admin tasks (sometimes not directly related to one book) that can be given to others.
    I think it may be useful to you to give a good look at your activities and tasks and workload, and examine where you struggle, which are the ones you would be willing to do yourself and which others can be outsourced. That way you can continue to produce, and scale, without burning out.

    As a side note, Korea and Japan are pretty much the first two countries for suicide rates, driven especially by the harsh and demanding and highly stressful environments and outlooks. Not really where you should look as far as examples of successful work organization, in my opinion :)
    On the other hand, try to think that in a 8-10 hour workday, you could be more productive by switching tasks. You risk burnout if you try to constantly write 8 hours, but if you divide it into pieces and mix tasks, you give your brain a chance to recoup and replenish, while still getting a lot done.
    So for example I tend to do some days where I work let's say 9 hours:
    -4 to 5 hours of writing
    -2 creative work (graphic)
    -1-2 in admin, tech stuff, day-to-day operations...
    Another day I could have 4 hours of writing, 1 of translating, 1 editing, and some creative work. Others are 5 hours of graphic work and 2 of writing.
    To be honest, I don't really watch the hours that much. I prefer to count the words produced, or pieces of work, or other parameters of that kind. I obviously know roughly how long I need to do a certain task, but I don't waste time sitting in front of the PC watching a blank screen - I switch it up so something ALWAYS gets done.

    Anyway, PM if you want to chat more - always happy to meet writers!
     
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  14. SvvyDO
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    SvvyDO Shooting til it hits Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I am 100%, without a doubt delegating some of the work next time around. I just wanted to know the in's-and-out's of the process of putting out a product in the market place and I thought the best way to do that would be to do everything yourself for the first time around (which IMO, I think is an extremely valuable skill--or experience--to have.)

    I think you're right about splitting up the work into different tasks. I think the reason why I was plowing through the writing earlier was because I was writing AND focusing on the marketing/web development which gave me some sort of variety... But now that everything is pretty much set except the actual product, the lack of variety got me burning out ALOT quicker (and get bored) as I raced towards the finish line.

    Anyhow, thanks again for your insight, as well as giving me a break from working on the book ;)

    This has been a very rejuvenating experience for me.

    I'm almost thinking about starting my blog again (which was my first business I ever started and failed miserably.. Hah!) to give myself some variety from working on the same thing all day long :smile2:
     
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  15. Busy Muse
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    Busy Muse Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Oh I do agree on that! It is an extremely valuable experience to have - makes it easier to delegate the next time, because you know what the processes involved are, etc. Less likely to get "scammed" by people offering you services that are out of proportion, out of budget, out of whatever.

    On the blog side, it could be a good idea, but I would personally don't treat it as a business. Just a fun hobby on the side to release some steam and practice other skills - but without the pressure of making it profitable (yet- nothing is ever lost!) on top of worrying about your book.
    I would suggest some other thing to vary your day/routine, but possibly nothing to do with writing, since otherwise you'll feel like you are just "churning" out words and nothing else, especially since you are writing non-fiction (both book and blog).

    Keep it up anyway, because you seem like you are on the right track!
     
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  16. Real Deal Denver
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    Real Deal Denver Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I'm a real estate appraiser. I have a few other gigs, but that is the job that pays the bills.

    Over the years, I've trained 6 people. 5 quit. The reason might surprise you. It sure did me. They didn't want to work weekends or evenings. Poor babies. But, of course, they wanted their own business ventures where they were their own boss - worked out of their home - and make 6 figures. Of course. Everyone should have that - and work 9 to 5, with breaks, lunches, holidays, and vacations.

    I don't do it as much anymore, but I have worked 80+ hours a week for many months on end. I now concentrate on working smarter, not harder, and I have a few other gigs that I'm working on.

    But I thought I'd let you know how I worked 80+ hours a week, for weeks on end - and never got tired or burnt out.

    First of all, 80 hours is only 12 hours a day. That's 8 to 8. I did that with no problem at all. Some days I worked 16 hour days - 8 to midnight. Again, no big deal.

    It's easy. It's been said many times, but nobody pays attention. Everyone thinks it's a cliche, but it's not. It is a proven method.

    Just love what you do, and never work a day in your life.

    I wrapped my mind around it. I wasn't sweating - I wasn't building calluses on my hands from hard labor - I didn't have an overbearing boss - I sure wasn't bored - and what was I going to do with my time if I didn't work? Watch TV? This type of thinking takes the "pain" out of your work. You really have to sit back and think about how GREAT your job really is. It could be a whole lot worse, right?

    Once I realized that my job was really pretty cushy, I focused on actually liking my job. I went through and inspected homes. Do you know how boring that gets after 200 times? A kitchen is a kitchen. But it doesn't have to be. The first thing I did was learn to look at the pictures on the walls. The kids - the vacations - the grand kids - the honeymoon - whatever! If someone took the time to frame a picture and hang it, it's a picture worth looking at! I learned to appreciate people a lot more by doing this. Every so often I would ask them about something - if they were home. Most of the time, they weren't, but I still paused to enjoy the pictures. After that, I noticed their decorating schemes, and their choice of furnishings. The kids rooms are always fun to look at - their crayon art work taped up, or their certificates of accomplishment. These are their TREASURES! This is their life! I get an opportunity to see those things, and to feel the love - if only for a few moments. Wow. Heady stuff isn't it?

    The point is this - I never worked a day in my life. I learned to appreciate how good my job was - and I learned to enjoy the people, or at least the homes, that I visited. It was a visit - not an inspection. Big difference. Made a lot of friends too, as you might suspect.

    When the computer work had to be done, I have a comfy chair at my desk. I like the sound of a fan, so I work with a fan on - it greatly helps me concentrate, and greatly reduces stress and anxiety. Try it! I pamper myself while I work - snacks. Regular 5 minute breaks every 30 minutes to check emails and things. And I never worry about not getting enough done. I pace myself - I'm not in a race. I need to create quality work.

    I also have a few motivational things in sight while I work. I take care to not let my brain get depressed or stressed. It isn't always easy - but I make deliberate efforts. And they work. And I have goals. I look at the big picture and compliment myself on not only WHAT I can do, but how much I do. Reminding me of my skills and strengths does wonders so I can coast along and not get tired. If I do get tired - I take a break, and I don't allow myself to feel guilty about it.

    I will also tell you this. People sometime like to tell me how lucky I am to make good money. When it's good, it's good - but sometimes, it's bad... I tell them that I can tell them how to double their income starting this month! Yes, double their income! It's simple - get another job - work 80 or more hours a week. Get two paychecks. Nobody has ever done that though.

    Hope this helps. Although it's very simple, it works. Detach the work part from your work. Do you think people that go on cruises to do reviews on them work hard? Think like THAT and never work again!

    PS - if you're one of those unfortunate souls that has a miserable job and you can't use these methods, there is an answer for you too. Get a better job! Seriously! You deserve to be happy!
     
  17. SvvyDO
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    SvvyDO Shooting til it hits Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Oh yeah forsure, just as a fun hobby. I'd probably use it to learn a little SEO on the side, hone my craft at writing, and give a little variety into my routine.

    I've found that in the toughest writer's blocks, the best way to overcome it was to bring back joy and excitement into writing again by writing about something exciting or working to increase my skills at writing. :blush:

    ...But then again, I'm really looking to work on an e-commerce business in the near future, and that might be the better route to take because like you said, non-fiction + non-fiction might not be drastic enough to give me the variety I need. Regardless, that's for later down the road anyways.

    As for now, gotta keep the grind going!

    Thanks for "reinvigortating my flame" for me again :rofl::rofl:

    Sometimes I need to remind myself that the best writers can make ANYTHING interesting... No matter what they're writing about (not saying that I'm anywhere close to being the very best, it's just a nice driving force to keep me going :happy:)

    I'll definitely throw some PM's your way soon to keep our conversation going :innocent: :halo:
     
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  18. SvvyDO
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    I completely understand where you're coming from.

    Sometimes I get so lost in trying to get the project finished as quickly as possible that all I think about is "Get this Ad up by xxx" or get "xx pages done by xx" that I forget to enjoy the process.

    And that's when my writing starts to get really dull :bored:, but once I step back and put the enjoyment and fun back into my craft, things start to work in my favor... Words start flowing naturally, and instead of forcing myself to work on things, I naturally want to. :smile2:

    Thanks for your insight, although I've never worked with real estate, I've worked in insurance sales for a few years so I understand what you're saying with 12+ hour days being a breeze :playful:

    If anything, times goes by TOO fast. :rofl::rofl:
     
  19. fvcorp
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    fvcorp Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I'm going to offer you an idea that can double your output and increase the quality of your output at the same time.

    I've used this method myself and I've heard of many successful writers that use a similar plan.

    First, let me say that there is a difference between work that is obligation (home appraisal appointments) vs writing. One involves an obligation and one is self-directed.

    Second, there is a significant difference between tasks and art. As a software developer by trade, doing 12 or more hours of development wouldn't have been too challenging if the tickets were defined. The mental fatigue is more likely to arise when the job requires creativity to shape the tasks.

    Creativity and art requires inspiration. It requires a process (different for everyone) to find inspiration.

    Rather than schedule an hour for writing, schedule an hour to find inspiration. Watch videos, have a meeting with someone knowledgeable about the topic. Feed your mind until you are DESPERATE to begin writing and the next 1000 words are on the tip of your tongue.

    To schedule it in a practical way, schedule 60 minutes of inspiration and then 60 minutes writing for eight hours total. But start writing when you are INSPIRED. After just one day you will see:

    a) You will be excited to work more after your 8 hours. Achieving a 12 hour day will seem possible.
    b) You will have 2,000 or more quality words in your first day.
     
  20. Tiger TT
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    Tiger TT Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I sometimes tell myself "I'll write 200 words today". But I write 900 words. I set low expectations so that I sit down and write.

    I trick myself into writing.

    For me this works better than setting high expectations. I can write faster this way.

    Also after I write for 1 hour, I rest for 10-15 minutes. Then I try to do another 1 hour session. So it's not like I only do an hour. I try to do as much as I can.

    And sometimes I just do a 30 minute session. For me the important thing is to sit down and to write. Regularly.
     

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