Lots of people jumped into the self-quarantine phase of coronavirus with plans to write a book — including me.
We intend to release “Betting on You” in January, which is fantastic news, but you’re only as good as the last success. So, I started the outline for my next project.
Writing the first draft of a book isn’t a singular event where you sit down at the computer and enter a state of flow, thereby passing wisdom and insights down to generations of readers. It’s more like contracting a case of food poisoning. You’re like — What’s going on here? Am I sick?
Heck yeah. You’re sick with the idea that you can write a book!
You start to barf, and barf again, and then barf a little more. Sometimes it feels like you’re going to throw up, but you don’t. Instead, you’re pooping. And it’s messy. You are exhausted, bored, frustrated, and horrified. You can’t control it. The bug takes longer than you expect to pass through your system. You can go for an extended period with no activity, and then it strikes again.
When it’s over? You don’t feel cathartic. Instead, you feel relief.
At least, that’s my experience. Writing a book has been relentless. There are edits, revisions, and multiple iterations of the manuscript until it’s in a condition where you go, yeah, okay, this works. And I was blessed to have smart people around me who know what the hell they are doing and want the best for me and the manuscript.
And this whole process? It killed my productivity. Writing is thinking, and you can’t multitask and create anything worth sharing. While I dreamed of having a rigorous schedule where I wrote at specific times during the day, my actual process was less defined and more scattershot. I wrote on planes, in hotel rooms, and late at night when I had insomnia and anxiety about my book.
Had you measured my productivity at the moment, you would have fired me from my job other jobs as a writer, speaker, business owner, partner, caregiver, and cat mom. The only time I ever did anything well was when I put myself first, prioritized my wellbeing, and got eight hours of sleep. But since I had 100 other jobs while writing this book, that didn’t happen very often.
I think productivity is an unrealistic unit of measurement that does nothing to improve output or performance. It’s a stick, not a carrot, and doesn’t tell us anything about the health of our business or the workforce. So, if you’re one of those people who keep talking about productivity as it relates to the coronavirus, this week’s Punk Rock HR newsletter is for you.
My output over the past twelve months has been sketchy, but I measure my success differently. I’m asking questions like:
• How do I feel physically and emotionally?
• What’s the state of my customer relationships?
• Where is my business headed?
• Who do I love? Who loves me?
And I will know if this has been worth it when my book appears on your bedside table, or in your Kindle, in January 2021.