Know what you’re doing (for the sake of productivity)

Know what you’re doing (for the sake of productivity)

Know what you're doing

It’s been more than a year now since I built this website. And it’s been about eight¬†months that I’ve been doing full time freelance, doing design. But I actually, really, want to go into illustration. So, why don’t I just do it?

I realized something this week about productivity. These past seven months, up to now, I’ve been wandering around almost aimlessly, not really knowing what I want to do, or even what I AM doing. This got us by financially, but mostly more because my husband has a good-paying full-time job as a (really good) PHP programmer. It amazes me that he has so much patience with me – he still believes in me and encourages me after I’ve lost all hope in myself and my dreams. I look at other freelancers and dream of being as successful they are, wondering what they’re doing differently. But this week, it hit me right in the face – I don’t really know what I’m doing, and that’s what I’ve been doing wrong this whole time.

 

It’s important to know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

You may have a “feel” for what you’re doing, or a special touch, and can be successful because of that. But I think the “knowing”, and not just “feeling” part, is what makes the difference. Let me explain quickly. This week, I posted a little drawing I did for a 30-day drawing challenge (more like a list of 30 things to draw every day), and a follower commented, saying: “As simple as your work can appear, I am always impressed by the attention to proportion you have. I think with cartoons it’s less about being “correct” and more about consistency. Bugs Bunny is not correct but it feels right because of the consistency in design. You got that. :)”. I realized that I’ve been doing something (being consistent in style and proportion), without knowing. I was just drawing the way I always do, without concentrating too much on the how and why. Then it hit me – I’ve been doing the same with my job. I’ve been going with the flow, doing work as it came to me, not really thinking about what I’m doing and where I’m going. I’ve been posting on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as naturally as it came to me, just hoping that it might bring me more followers and thus more clients.

 

Consider your current and future positions

So, what I mean with “knowing what you’re doing” is that you need to consider what you are doing, and how it impacts what you will be doing (or want to do) in the future. Ask yourself: What am I doing right now? Is it what I want to do in the future? Am I being honest with myself, or have I just been doing what I’m doing just to do “something”? And thus: What am I advertising? Is what I am advertising on social media the service I want people to buy from me?

 

Advertise/do now what you want to do in the future

I haven’t been honest with myself. I haven’t been promoting what I really want to do, or at least I haven’t been advertising it in the right way. And after a week of consideration, thinking about what my follower said, carefully considering my current position and where I really want to be, I am changing course! It’s scarier than I thought it would be, and it definitely feels like a bigger step than going into freelance. It leaves me with so many questions, and I am frightened. But I am willing, and I really want to illustrate full-time. I want to sit at my desk, drawing!