How are you doing? Hope everything is well!
You may have noticed that I haven’t been as consistent with my output as I used to be. Every now and then I find myself skipping my weekly blog updates or putting a blind eye to the “Discover the best icons of the week” series. Of course this influences me negatively on both professional and personal levels because I’m that type who believes that consistency is the key ingredient when it comes to progress. I’m certain that you need to be persistent if you want to go forward and get better at something. But staying persistent is a hard job in itself, let alone when you feel accountable for delivering the best content about icon design. The responsibility is huge and the last thing I want to do is disappoint you guys.
Since I have been struggling with keeping up with the schedule, I thought it would be productive to analyze why I have been delaying the work, and share my thoughts with you to help all of us be more obligated in the future.
So let’s take a look at the issues that stop me from publishing regularly. By no means I’m trying to complain here. My aim is to examine the problem and suggest solutions to overcome them, because I know that a lot of people struggle with the similar issues.
I’ve distinguished three main problems:
1) Not preparing work in advance
Since I don’t prepare any articles in advance, I don’t have any buffer to rely on, which means I have to write all the articles a week prior publishing them. This puts me under a lot of stress because, oh man, writing doesn’t come easy to me.
2) Wanting to do better work
Another thing that gets in the way of my regular writing is the feeling that I could do better. I know that given more time, the final article could be 10 times more valuable. Nevertheless, one thing I’ve learned from my own experience is that excuses like this shouldn’t stop you from creating. Yet, I want to make the top quality content and even though I’m getting tons of emails from people sharing how valuable my articles have been and how I’ve helped them, there is always room for perfection. I still want to improve and produce more and more of the best possible content about icon design!
3) Overworking and burning out
Right now my main problem is that I’m burned out from overworking. For the last couple of years, I have been working really hard to be where I am now. As exciting as it is, I’m starting to feel that I’m burning out. It seemed quite alright when I quit my day job to work on icons full-time, I even had some spare time and, therefore, felt really refreshed. However, a couple of months ago I agreed to help a few of my friends with their startup taking the position of the designer. Little by little, it started picking up speed. Eventually, what once was just a help has grown into a full-time job. Not that I’m complaining, I really love where everything is going and I’m also very passionate about this project. The problem is though, that I have less and less time to work on icons and Icon Utopia. And since I want to do both things, because I’m ambitious like that, I end up working the extreme amount of hours, which leads to exhaustion, health issues and, well, burning out.
Now, when I have recognized and admitted the problems, I can move to the possible solutions:
1) Stock up!
It’s time to admit that if you want to do something regularly, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly, you have to secure yourself with some sort of a buffer. Trust me, there will be days when you won’t simply have a chance, time or willpower to complete the task. And working on something the night before, knowing that you need to publish it in a few hours puts way more stress and pressure on your shoulders! Believe me, I’ve been there!
2) “Done” is better than “perfect”
I know this is a struggle for a lot of people. They think that their work is not good enough, they want to make it better, and such pursue of perfection stops them from publishing at all. Are you one of those people? This seems to be a really common problem and I think every other person at some point doubts their work. Truth is, you’re making little to no progress when you don’t produce anything and don’t publish your work regularly.
I thought I had overcome this issue. After deciding to publish daily I started progressing really rapidly. However, now after a year of daily publishing I’m feeling that I’m reaching plateau. And this is the sign that I need to change something! So now I want to make an experiment and concentrate on quality rather than quantity.
Let’s see where this takes me! I’m definitely sharing the results with you.
3) Avoiding overburning
If you have been reading me for a while, you’ve definitely heard about my rest and recreation retreats. It’s been quite some time since I travelled somewhere. And now is about time when I need it more than ever. So…I escaped to the wonderful Thailand!
I’m going to spend one and a half month here relaxing, reseting, reflecting on my work and aspirations, working on Icon Utopia and the above-mentioned startup. Changing the environment is the best thing you can do if you’re feeling overworked and starting to burn out. At this very moment, I’m sitting by the pool listening to the amazing sounds of nature and admiring the wonderful view of Thailand! It couldn’t be better!
I hope you’ll find this article useful. I promise that soon I will get back to my routine of publishing regularly, and I’m definitely bringing even more valuable content! And for now, I’m heading to explore some hidden treasures of this fantastic island.
See you soon guys! Stay awesome!