Saturday, October 22, 2011

I am the 9.1%: Quality is Job Fun

(Image borrowed from
See previous post in this series: click here
I'd like to thank for listing my blog in their careers section (it's waaaaay at the bottom). I've been getting good response to this, and that's a great feather in my cap on which to end the week.

It's a Saturday, the first Saturday of this series. Saturday is leisure time for me, a day that I don't spend time on job hunting or chasing whimsies or pursuing personal projects. There are people out there who'll insist that every moment of waking life be dedicated to momentum, and every step taken should get you closer to achieving your goals. I'm not one of those people.

While I'll agree that maintaining momentum is important, I insist that there must be time allotted for leisure, even when you're down on your luck. Fun is one of the most important figures in any equation resulting in success. If you spend too much time focused on your job hunt, you'll burn out. Once the supply of jobs listings is exhausted, the only thing left to focus on is the lack of jobs, and that's a killer. That eats up all your stores of positivity, and saps away from your feelings of inspiration. No good, DO NOT WANT! Instead, turn to your hobbies and your friends to refuel those stores and good vibes.

If you've been reading along with this series, you know by now that I go to great lengths to keep my days organized into blocks, and in so doing, assign myself deadlines to help keep things on task. It's my way of making sure that my time is spent working towards quality results. Cover letters I'm proud to submit, resumes that make sense, pages of screenplay that make me laugh, blog posts that are engaging and motivational to read (hopefully). I try to apply the same quest for quality to my leisure time.

Here are my rules for any leisure activity:

  1. They must blur my focus. Whatever it is I'm doing has to pull me out of my head completely for the duration of the activity. It's got to be something that forces me out of whatever "zone" I'm in. Frisbee golf, regular golf, video games, reading a book or magazine (preferably fiction). Something that absorbs me completely. One of my favorites is tooling around in Illustrator. Some people love to play Black Ops. I love working through Illustrator tutorials. Don't judge.
  2. They should be social. I spend more than enough time on my own, with only me for company, and I'm boring and irritating company after a few days. Human interaction with people I like is one of the most efficient activities for reinvigorating my well of inspiration and positivity. One hour fishing, riding bikes or playing Mario Kart with my girlfriend's son, watching a hockey game with my best friends or having dinner with my girlfriend is enough to top off my tanks for a good long time.
    1. I feel like it's important to add a sub-topic to this bullet point. People can also be toxic. I'm very careful to quarantine myself from negativity and aggressiveness. There are lots of people out there who resent other people's success, have nothing positive to say or contribute, or only offer backhanded compliments. I used to be one of these people, until I recognized how destructive it was to me and all of the people in my life. It helps immeasurably to systematically identify these people in your life and limit your interaction with them. For me, the first step in getting away from those influences was limiting my time on Facebook and Twitter.
  3. They should be new, different and enriching. As often as possible, I try to do or learn something I've never done before. Keeps me fresh and my mind sharp, and gets me out of my comfort zone. Inhibition stands in the way of success at every turn. Uninhibited pursuit of leisure leads to uninhibited ambition (at least in my mind). Learning to get out of your comfort zone during leisure time opens you up to new experiences in other areas of your life. This isn't to say that I never repeat things; I definitely have my favorite hobbies (Frisbee Golf, cycling...), and I do them as frequently as I can. But there was a point in time when I'd never done those things before, and had to discover how much fun they were. There's only one way to find your favorite things: try them, whether you think you'll like it or not. 
That's it. That's my recipe for fun. What I'm trying to achieve here is balance. Quality leisure in response to quality productivity. Best case scenario: a 50/50 split between that two. 

Most important though, is that the end goal of everything, leisure as well as productivity, is quality. Whether it's in a job application, an illustration, a freelance job or an evening out with friends. How do you measure quality? Simple: how good do you feel about it when you're done with it? Take the time to review at the end. If you're satisfied, you've achieved quality. If you put your mind and heart into your efforts to your fullest abilities, you've achieved quality. The key to applying this measure is honesty: you've got to be completely honest with yourself in your assessments, or else you'll get comfortable with laziness and deficiency. Keep your standards high, and don't allow yourself the latitude for disappointment.

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1 comment:

city monkey said...

Total wisdom! Love it!
"Music is the space between the notes."
- Achille-Claude Debussy