The End Of The Week

I’ve been deep in a post altMBA funk this week. I’ve got my project plan and my task list but I’m just not working at it enough to ship on time.

When confronted by being stuck like this, especially when it’s self inflicted, my first reaction is that my deadlines are soft. Or at least out too far.

One of the best things about the altMBA format is that there is something due every single day. So there’s nowhere to hide. No way to get around to it later. You gotta ship, period.

Some of us, me included, like to set weekly goals. I’ll ship by the end of the week.

But Monday quickly turns into Tuesday turns into Wednesday. Laundry is done, the house is (relatively) clean, groceries purchased, side projects tended to.

Then as the sun sets on Thursday night, you realize you haven’t really got going on The Big Project. The one with the deadline.

That’s when the downward spiral picks up steam. The funk gets funkier. Not good.

No, better to have a daily deadline and mean it. Promise yourself you’ll pay the neighbour (the one you don’t like that much) $20 if you don’t ship tonight. And tomorrow. And the next day.

Get a stack of twenties and put them on your desk as a reminder.

Then get to work. We need you to ship.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

More on Shipping

With Cindy and Ben working and Robyn in Calgary, this Sunday was actually a good time to keep working on my next project. I thrashed for an hour or two before I had to stop and figure out what was bugging me.

Often times I get so eager to get moving forward that I start in the middle and start writing. That’s fine up to a point but sooner or later I need to step back and reset.

That’s where the Shipit Journal comes in.

Seth created the journal several years ago as a way to document the fears around projects right at the start, so you could call them out and then deal with them. It’s also a good way to look at your project from several angles so that you can identify everything that needs doing.

In my case, I was starting the ‘doing’ without really identifying all the pieces that needed to get done. So my head was full of ideas for other stages of the project. And a cluttered mind doesn’t do great work.

So I took an hour and filled in the Shipit Journal from front to back. It was well worth it – even though this is a solo project, I was able to identify several areas where I could get some outside help. Plus, I wrote down all the areas of the project that needed good planning and design, from the pre-launch through to finding sponsors and partners. All in one little booklet.

Back in the day, Seth made these booklets in 5 packs so your whole team could fill them in. But they are out of print. I was lucky to get a paper copy as part of my altMBA package, which is photocopiable. (new word!)

There’s also a free PDF version online, which is what I used. I still can’t bring myself to write in a book. Sigh…

Shipping Matters

One of the best things of the altMBA course is that we were forced to ship a new thing every day.

Either a project, or good feedback on other projects, or reflections on the feedback we received.

Every. Single. Day.

One of the best things of the altMBA course is that we were forced to ship a new thing every day.

Either a project, or good feedback on other projects, or reflections on the feedback we received.

Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes two things.

At first, I didn’t think I could do it, especially around my other work. I was literally spinning around trying to get myself under control. Scrambling to make every deadline.

But after the first week, I got my feet under me and fell into a sort of rhythm. I had ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ and ‘altMBA time.’

And you know what, not only did everything get done, but it got done well. Or at least, good enough.

Shipping is More Important Than Perfection

The biggest lesson is that you’re better off shipping something on time rather than getting it perfect.

Why is that?

  • You’ll never hit perfect anyway. It’s just a stall tactic in your head to avoid the vulnerability of shipping something real.
  • The longer you wait, the longer you avoid getting feedback. This is no good. Quality feedback will change your work anyway, or at least your ideas. Better to ship and get that feedback quickly
  • Missing dates is addictive. It’s too easy to miss your second date. So don’t miss even one.

Imperfect Is Not Garbage

It’s just not perfect.

There’s a difference between shipping crap and shipping imperfect work.

I define ‘crap’ as dishonest, shallow, or purposefully vague work.

‘Imperfect’ is still honest, deep, thoughtful work. Maybe it’s not 100% complete, or could benefit from some generous feedback, but the core is there.

If you feel you need to keep polishing, just ship. Get the feedback then ship again.

You’ll be glad you did.

The Resistance Won A Battle. But I’m Still Fighting The War.

There’s reading about it, and then there’s living it.

I’m a big fan of Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art.”  The book is a kick in the head for all creative people, including writers and entrepreneurs.   It both names and to helps fight the Resistance, that shitty part of your brain that stops you from doing the (seemingly) risky, scary and essential creative work you were meant to do.

I’ve read all of Steven’s non-fiction work and it helps.  But oh boy it’s not helping this month.  The damn Resistance has me hard.  It’s clawing at my brain stem right now.

Some may call it a migraine, but I know exactly what it is.  You don’t just get a migraine when you sit down to write.  But I’ve had three over the past week. Each time it takes me three days to get the courage up to write again.

I tried to trick it, by painting or recording a video instead of writing.  Smart, eh?

Well it wasn’t me that was being smart.  It was that f’ing Resistance again, deflecting the whole time.  Don’t create!  Research a new medium instead.  Look for tripods.  Adjust the lighting.  Watch yourself umm and ahh on video instead of writing clearly like you can.

It took a ‘knock me in bed’ migraine today to finally get it.  I See You.  You prick.

I’m writing about you now, Resistance.  Then I’m hitting Publish.

Then I’m finishing my article.  And starting another one.

You won for the last three weeks.  I won today.



What Are You Up To?

Saturday Farmer’s Market, Estremoz, Portugal

Cindy and I walked down to the Farmer’s Market today. It was fun to see the vendors again and catch up on things. It’s been two years since I baked for the Market but lots of people still want to see our bread there.

There was lots of interest in our trip and what we saw. There was even more interest in what we were doing next. Sadly, I think my response was a poor one.

I have this habit of telling people I need to figure something out, because I can’t be “unemployed” for much longer. But that’s the wrong answer.

  • I’m already talking to several places in town about starting or improving their bread production
  • There are people signed up to The Baker’s Bench who are ready for another baking course
  • I’m running into people on the street who say they enjoy our travel blog and want me to keep writing

So whether I say it or not, I’m already a baker, a teacher and a writer. And I’m doing all those things. I just didn’t get paid today.

It’s too easy to describe ourselves only in terms of what we do for money. That’s a trap. There’s a lot more going on in all of us.