15 – Progress and Happiness

I believe that progress and happiness are intrinsically linked. People like to feel as though they’re making progress, and that sense of achievement makes you feel happy. This may not be the case for everyone, but I’m willing to bet you know exactly the feeling I’m talking about. Ever wonder why almost every video game and mobile app has a scoring or achievement system? It’s because the sense of progress you get from these keeps you hooked, and that’s why it’s so easy to sink hours into phone games that amount to little more than clicking a button on a screen again and again (I’m looking at you, Egg Inc). I’ve recognised this in myself, and now I try to get my milestone-reaching kicks in other ways.

When I was a kid, the fantastical notion that “I could do anything if I set my mind to it” became thoroughly ingrained within me, and that’s why I try my hand at everything from music making and novel writing, to board and video game designing. That sense of achievement that I crave is most attainable at the beginning of a new project, where milestones come thick and fast. Once you get past that stage, though, you’ll need to put in some work to progress. Often, you’ll need to study and learn, other times, you might just need to put the hours in, but the juice will be worth the squeeze.

Never has this been more obvious to me than when I started a new job in June last year. I went from being a planner working on Excel for eight hours a day, to being a marketing executive for a company which, so far, has had me setting up events in Germany and Russia, producing all manner of marketing materials, working with the press, and lots more. The learning curve was steep! The experience I had marketing my music helped, but this new job needed a LOT more. So, in order to help myself survive in the deep end, I dove even deeper and enrolled in a level 6 CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) course. The company I work for was kind enough to sponsor it too, for which I’m very grateful.

It was a lot to take in at first, but I felt that sense of achievement every time I finished a section of each assignment, and again when I handed those assignments in for feedback. I just handed in my final assignment, and the sense of achievement (and relief – I get my Monday nights back!) was palpable. Yes, it was hard work, and some of it was frustrating, but it’s already proven worth it. Not only has handing the assignment in made me feel happier, but I’m now feeling a lot more confident about all of my other projects. Now that I’ve got a solid marketing foundation, I feel better prepared to take my music, writing, and game designing to the next level. It’s given me a new confidence, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else this helps me achieve.

Do you feel the same? Where do you get your sense of achievement?

Have a productive day.

Will

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06 – A Productive Partner

Maintaining productivity isn’t easy. Many millions of people struggle with it every day. The easy option is to sit yourself down in front of a television or Youtube (who doesn’t like cat videos?) and switch off for the evening. Productivity is the hard option. It can feel like a chore, especially if you also work full-time. That feeling is exactly why I started working on The Points Project. It directly links productivity and fun, and so far I’ve found that it’s helped me strike a fantastic balance between the two.

I’ve also found something else that’s significantly improved my productivity; having a partner in crime! It’s fantastic to have someone to bounce ideas off, someone to provide constructive criticism, and simply having someone there while you’re working on things can make it a lot more fun. Working with someone, even if you’re not working on the same thing, can prove to be inspiring.

A little over seven months ago I met someone who was very creative and looking to get more productive, and we’ve both made a lot of progress during those seven months. My productivity partner is my girlfriend, and seeing her accomplish things drives me to work harder, and we’re always on hand to help each other out. When she posts a blog, I want to post a blog. When I need something proofread, she’ll do it. When she wants ice cream, I’ve got a spoon.

06 - A Productive Partner2

It’s working incredibly well and I’d urge anyone reading this to give it a try. It doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, close friends or colleagues will no doubt work well too, but you’ll need to find someone with a few key traits. Someone who…

… knows how to give constructive criticism.
… knows how to accept constructive criticism.
… you can work beside without constantly being distracted.
… has a similar level of ambition to you.
… is interested in what you’re trying to achieve.
… is trying to achieve something you’re interested in.

If you find someone like that, you, my friend, will have found the holy grail of productive partners.

Have a productive day.

Points Earned:

Open Mic +15 (x2) (While fun, they’re very time consuming. Hence the points value.)
Cassie’s Housewarming Gig +10 (also time consuming, but being paid reduces the points cost!)
Added entries to the ITBB Compendium +5 (x3)
Wrote a blog post +2

Total Points +81

02 – A Prehistoric Congratulations

Generally speaking, it’s not wise to set up a new blog and then immediately vanish into thin air, but that’s what I did. Or near enough anyway. I didn’t actually vanish but stepped on a plane to Portugal with my girlfriend. Unsurprisingly, lounging around by the pool doesn’t offer too many opportunities for productivity, so I had to put The Points Project on hold for a little while. Though that’s not to say that I spent the whole week being an unproductive lump; I managed to edit three book chapters while I was there (more on what that book’s about in a blog post or two).

It’s been a tradition for a number of years for my sister, Hannah, and me to make cards for each other’s birthdays, and this year was no exception. However, Hannah’s birthday fell slap bang in the middle of my trip to Portugal so, late one night before leaving, I picked up my pencil and drawing pen and set to work. I’m a fan of making cards, and many take a similar form to this; heavy lines done in pen, shading done in pencil. It’s nothing too fancy, but I think it can be pretty striking. I looked up a picture of a cartoon from the internet as inspiration, sketched it in pencil, then went over the lines in pen.

Now… you’d be forgiven for wondering why the birthday card I made for my sister has got a picture of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on it. Well, it’s a bit of a long story, but to give you the cliff-notes: I forgot to make her a card last year. She said that, in order to make up for it, I’d have to give her a birthday card at Christmas with a raptor on it… which I did. When it came to this birthday I had to wrack my brain to come up with something better than a raptor, and clearly a T-Rex was my only option.

Next year she’s getting a meteor.

(And yes, I know the bubble writing is terrible)

Points Earned:

Made a birthday card + 2

Blog post + 2

Edited book chapters + 5 (x3)

Total Points: 21

02 - A Prehistoric Congratulations A