Feeling Overworked?

When we feel overworked, the natural desire is to figure out how we can work our way out of the situation.

But working more isn’t the answer. We can’t solve overwork with more work. That’s like trying to cure alcoholism with more alcohol.

Working more has diminishing returns (and usually negative returns). The more we work, the less energy we have toward other aspects of our lives.

We are likely overworked for a good reason.

Beyond the obvious ones (like unrealistic deadlines, crowded schedules, and too many todos), there’s usually something that is driving us to work more.

Sometimes it’s as simple as never shutting it off when you clock out, and then automatically finding yourself finishing one last thing, or answering a few emails after hours.

Or maybe it’s something more complicated, like having unrealistic expectations of what we can do in a single day.

Or perhaps we are trying to make a name for ourselves and have to put in the extra hours on top of our day job to build our future. A lot of us live in the busy world of side hustles and businesses that demand our time and energy. This isn’t a bad thing! But it’s good to build healthy limits in our day. Because if we overwork ourselves to the bone we’ll end up burning ourselves out, or miserable, or inevitably start hating the work that we love.

Whatever the reason, it’s good to figure out the variables that are motivating us to work more and decide whether it’s good enough for our time.

Working more doesn’t create fulfilling work. Working on things we love does that. Staying focused and getting things meaningful things done is satisfying.

We need to be ruthless with our time and focus on the things that matter. Because there’s always more work we could do. We could work 24/7 and still not work enough. Or we could work enough, and do our best to get done what can get done in the hours we have to give, and spend our time enjoying life, friends, and family instead.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing — Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1578

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Make it Tangible

Have you ever found yourself feeling completely incapable of finishing a (school, work, andor personal) project, or even knowing where to begin?

Ambiguity contributes to procrastination.

If you don’t know the bounds of what you want/need to do, then the task will feel like an endless overwhelming blob of obscurity.

The simplest way to get clear on what needs to be done is to break the project down into its smallest pieces and outline a checklist. That’s not original advice. But you’d be surprised how often we (including myself) completely skip this step because we want to dive right in or don’t think we need it.

But the humble outline or checklist will highlight the way. Because the biggest feature of a checklist is it shows us what our next task is. We cross off one thing, and then we go to the next. Of course, the task has to be something doable/actionable. If the todo is “world domination” it’s gonna be pretty up in the air on how you are going to manage that. That’s why it’s important to break it down into small components as much as possible.

The more tangible a project is, the less we will get in our own way.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1264

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Overwatering Your Plants

It’s pretty easy to neglect your plants. All you have to do is never water them, never prune them, put them in the wrong sunlight, and then patiently wait for them to die.

Very hands-off

But the most common killer of house plants 🪴 is not neglect but generosity. We overwater them to death. We give them so much water that their roots start to rot from our kindness.

What in your life are you overwatering?

Your business? Your kids? A million ideas?

Everything from design to health to child-rearing does better with a little space and breathing room.

When I try to pack too much into my schedule, not only do my stress-levels elevate, but the quality of what I’m doing diminishes across the board.

Too much of one thing ends up being the opposite of what we were wanting. Too much exercise or long hours at the office and we burnout. Too many hobbies, friends, todos, ideas and we no longer have room for intentionality.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1160

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Fun to Make

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.” Roger von Oech

Not every aspect of any job will be fun, but if you’re not finding joy or value in what you’re doing, then why are you doing it?

Life is too short to feel dissatisfied eight hours a day, five days a week.

Work is about making a living—and sometimes when you’re in a bad place you gotta do what you gotta do. But work is also about joy and play. Without it, our lives feel stuck and stale. Maybe you don’t even realize that’s what’s been bothering you. There’s time for playfulness just like there’s time for seriousness.

But if every thing we work on is for money—we’ve got a problem.

Maybe not right away, but only grinding through unfulfilling work we’ll burn ourselves out—into the ground.

If you can’t find joy in your job right now, then add it elsewhere. Start a no-pressure project you want to do for the sheer fun of it. Maybe it’s something in your industry or maybe it’s something completely new. By “no-pressure” I mean something that doesn’t directly involve your financial wellbeing. Your fun project can still have challenges and deadlines—it’s still something you want to start and then complete—but it’s not necessary some time to immediately turn into a side business.

We spend our entire childhood playing and learning and then when we transition to adulthood and work somewhere along the way we lose that sense of play and end up only working. Most of us go from play to no play. No wonder all we end up doing is partying, drinking andor stream shows!

So have fun with it. Go make something. Build something with your hands.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1072

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Life is Work (But Work Isn’t Life)

“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” — Albert Camus

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” — Rumi

Work means different things to different people. I may enjoy pitching ideas to clients and marketing products to customers, whereas you would rather eat your own left foot than deal with customers directly.

A lot of creative “work” I do doesn’t feel like work at all. Technically I am working and working towards a vision, but it doesn’t feel laborious. Naturally, I get joy and energy when I’m working on things I love. But then again, I’m not just doing one thing I’m juggling a few things throughout the day, so there’s rarely a moment where I feel like I want to stop. 9 AM turns into 3 PM very quickly. Plus, I’m sprinkling in healthy practices and breaks here and there—like meditation or going on a walk—so there’s a lot of factors at play.

One important lesson creative work has taught me is life takes work, but work shouldn’t be your entire life.

It takes work to live an intentional and meaningful life. In fact, it’s likely much easy to live a flippant, unintentional life. It doesn’t take much effort to eat fast food, never exercise, stay up late, work just for a paycheck, drink heavily, and veg out on the weekends.

Living intentionally and pursuing a dream, on the other hand, takes effort. Lots of effort. But the effort is part of the joy.

There’s rarely anything more rewarding than sticking to a goal and being consistent with it.

There are limits, of course. If all you do is work then your life is off balance. Friendships, love, community, mind-body, and spirit are just as important (and rewarding) as what you do for a living.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1053

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“Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.”

William Arthur Ward

The sky looks incredible this evening. Gradients of purple and pink kiss the mountains of my hometown.

I’m walking along with the Tennessee River and can’t help but look up and window snoop at some of the visible apartments high above.

Despite the riverside view, I’m seeing glimpses of what you’d see in any house—no matter how poor or rich you are.

Couches, lamps, curtains. Vague shapes of paintings or perhaps photos on the walls. Busy kitchens and empty kitchens.

Flickers of images from TVs stand out the most. The size and quality might change, but you’ll find one in many houses across the modern world. Something about this makes me laugh. No matter how rich you get, you still are gonna make sure you don’t miss your latest show episodes. Entertainment is a great equalizer.

We’ve always been a storytelling people. Nowadays, we’ve traded campfires and spoken stories for pixels, streaming, and social media.

I admire the people who have decided to live without owning a TV. Up until recently, I’ve always had one, or at least my family has. I watch things more on my iPad and phone more than anything these days.

I love watching good shows and movies. I love them in the creative sense too. The interwoven combination of direction, acting, production, design, fashion, and storytelling that goes into creating a film. There’s an unbelievable amount of good stuff out there these days. Palm Springs. The Old Guard. What We Do in The Shadows. Dark. The Last Dance. And that doesn’t even get me started about YouTube.

As much as I enjoy it, I’m also occasionally gut checking why I’m watching one thing or another. “Am I watching this to enjoy, or am I watching this to distract myself from what I actually want/need to do?” It’s a tough question and usually has a tough answer.

If you’re an adult, there are no rules—you can watch whatever whenever you want. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. I’m not here to patronize or get on a soapbox. I’m, more or less, observing my own life and patterns.

Sometimes I need to stop learning, put down the book, turn off the TV, and get to work.

And other times I need to put down my work and call a friend and check in on them. Or take a breather and go for a walk. And, of course, occasionally watch a good episode or two. Everything is balance. A moderation of competing priorities on your time.

The key is to prioritize your life around the values and results you are looking for.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1003

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Treading Water

“Leave your ego at the door every morning, and just do some truly great work. Few things will make you feel better than a job brilliantly done.”

Robin S. Sharma

On a micro-level, big projects feel like you’re treading water. A day’s amount of work doesn’t feel like much, but it adds up. When you know what you want and when you know where you are going, then all you need is the patience and perseverance to see it through.

That tension between an unfinished idea to a finished project is a natural part of the process. It’s that class phrase you hear, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

As much as I’d like to be 150 percent productivity all the time, I know that some days will be more effective than others. Unless you’re a robot, you’re likely gonna have some off days where you’re not creativity firing at maximum thrusters. IT’S ALRIGHT. IT’S OKAY. Tomorrow is another chance to add work to the whole.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #996

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Use What You’ve Got

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Theodore Roosevelt

According to a quick google search, the top two most sold ice cream flavors are vanilla and chocolate. Out of the thousands of favors and options out there in the world, the humble vanilla and chocolate are still the most popular.

You have everything you need to create what you need. Everything you can and will eventually add to the mix (experiences, higher quality gear, knowledge, the latest gadgets, and gizmos, etc) are extra flavor to your toolkit.

But for now, you have what you have—so make do. Think of it as a creative limitation, something that gives you the opportunity to think differently and come up with a clever solution.

More tools doesn’t equal more creativity or originality.

There’s no sense in waiting for the right tools and gear. Nor for right time for that matter.

Be resourceful. Make do with what you have and make it shine.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #963

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The Struggle

“I really try to put myself in uncomfortable situations. Complacency is my enemy.”

Trent Reznor

Complacency can creep up on you at any stage of your journey. Beginning, middle, and end.

  • When you think you have nothing and feel hopeless—you can become complacent to the life you dislike but tolerate.
  • When you are finally starting to make progress—but then you let the fear of failure (or success) lead you to procrastinate and avoid what you need/want to do.
  • When you’ve succeeded beyond your wildest dreams (or your family has succeeded before you, and has accrued wealth and/or status) — you can become complacent to a life of luxury. Your immediate needs are fulfilled, but you can’t help but wonder, “Is this all there is?”

Complacency also lives somewhere in the middle of not failure and success. A not-not world. A negative space. That pesky in-between state where nothing seems to be happening to us. We are working harder than we ever have, but we’re not making progress towards our goals. Or we aren’t trying hard enough to tip over into something better, but we aren’t getting worse either.

The word ‘struggle’ gets a bad rap, but it’s through the continuous drive to learn and improve, and the love of the craft that we can find meaning within our lives.

There’s a paradox here though— momentum creates both meaning and struggle. In fact, the struggle to be someone, or the struggle to create something worthwhile gives us the energy to stand out and make an impact.

Joy is found in motion. Work. Rest. Work Rest. Forward. Change. Towards somethings. Without that things can feel lost and distant. Luckily, there’s purpose waiting around every corner, you just have to put one foot in front of the other to see it.

The struggle isn’t the problem. The struggle is the solution. Let go of trying to rid yourself of struggle and embrace what comes, no matter if you like it or not.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #933

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“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m always torn between staying up later to have a little more time to learn and work on my passion projects, versus going to bed on time so that future josh will feel fresh in the morning.

Should I grit my teeth and push a little bit more, or do I let go and rejuvenate?

I’ve read Dr. Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep, I understand how vital good sleep is—not just for creativity— but for everything. Yet still, I’m torn. I don’t know what my future looks like. Would future Josh wish that past Josh tried harder or does he wish that past Me didn’t focus so much energy on doing more?

More doesn’t always bring you the results you are seeking.

As Seneca once wrote, “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

I suppose it doesn’t matter as long as I’m living a life true to myself. My dreams in life aren’t going to realize themselves. There’s a reason most people don’t do what they want to do—they convince themselves it’s not possible. As long as we are making decisions for the right reasons—based on value, connection, joy, love, meaning, passion, curiosity, etc— it doesn’t really matter how long it takes for my day to come, or even if it does. Because if you live true to yourself, and treat yourself and others with respect and care, then the life that we end up living will be 10x as meaningful, compared to a life spent in fear, doubt, and by someone else’s rules.

It’s a simple idea, but it’s far from easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It takes strength and perseverance to surrender to the moment while also never wavering on who you are and who you want to be.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #929

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