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Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”

Guard Against “It Doesn’t Matter”


    I have been reading quite a few books and blogs about writing non-fiction articles recently, putting the styling techniques and grammar tips into practice. I have also been reading more novels to expand my imagination and hopefully, vocabulary, so I might aptly describe what I would like to. I was on a quest to become a more prolific writer.

    So as I drafted a few articles for newspapers, I applied the lessons I learnt and set about editing and re-writing my drafts. I was quite pleased with my efforts and satisfied I had done my best. I decided to leave one of the articles overnight and come back to it one last time the next day with a fresh eye before submitting it to the editor.

    The next morning, I turned on my computer again and expected to run quickly through the article, smile at myself, and attach it to the email to send off.

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    However, I was caught by deflated surprise. Suddenly, I found a number of flaws in the logic and argument. There were typos everywhere, and the writing sounded dull. The article didn’t sound too interesting anymore. I was almost on the verge of tears and was tempted to write to my editor and tell her my dog ate the draft.

    I said to myself, “It’s just an article and it doesn’t matter if I didn’t get printed this time.”

    Julia Cameron warns against this mentality in her book, The Artist’s Way, a book to guide others to discover their creativity.

    Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this surge of sudden disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

    Indeed, it was my way of avoiding the disappointment I felt about my work. I also did not want to spend extra time and effort to further polishing the article. I didn’t want to deal with the perceived obstacle, nor admit that my confidence in the draft is shattered. Suddenly it seemed that the whole world could write better than me.

    I found as many excuses as I could:

    • There were more proficient writers
    • My topic was boring
    • Others could write the same topic so it didn’t matter if I submitted my draft or not
    • No one would read what I wrote
    • I won’t die if I didn’t write
    • There was no point in trying to become a writer

    Self-doubt blinded my passion for writing. The effort required to reach the goal I set for myself seemed too much for my psyche to bear.

    I consoled myself that even if I didn’t reach the goal, it doesn’t matter.

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    And with that, my enthusiasm and energy slowly dwindled away. I was establishing a defensive wall around my self-doubt.

    This is why many of us never write that book, or that guest post, or paint that picture or design that graphic.


    We think: it doesn’t matter. But it does – even if only for ourselves

    I finally picked up my weary soul and went about editing the article. It took me another 2 hours, but after I sent it off to the Editor, I felt good about myself, that I had conquered the self-doubt in me.

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    Next time you find yourself saying “it doesn’t matter” – stop yourself, and focus doubly hard on that exact task you think doesn’t matter. For it does, and each little step you spur yourself on will create all that difference in life.

    That article I submitted led to a subsequent invitation to write again, and again…and now I write regularly for that paper.

    It does matter.

    (Photo credit: Tower on Beach via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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