problem solving

How to solve a problem

Current Problem: Not enough time to write

Or so I thought… Read on to find out how I solved a problem I didn’t know I had and not the one I was sure was the culprit.

What time of day do you do your best work? 

I have always been a morning person and thoroughly enjoyed getting up at the butt crack of dawn to go #rowing out on #TempeTownLake in high school. It was my favorite time of day to be out and moving. 

To this day I believe I do some of my best writing between the hours of 11pm & 2am. No, I’m not kidding.

But…… Raising kids and maintaining a family unit has changed the way I work. I’ve been a mom since I was 17 and have had to figure out how to graduate high school, finish college, work, start my own business, move cross country and start over, all with an increasing number of small humans attaching themselves to me (and my partner :P).

I still do my best creative writing in the middle of the night. It’s effortless and wonderful and… exhausting. Re-training myself to get up early and write before the kids get up has been an adventure in itself.

Knowing when I do my best work has been helpful. I have carved that time out and dedicate it to being creative and getting my thoughts out, often on a variety of subjects at once.

Even with that dedicated time, I still felt like (and knew) I wasn’t putting out my best work. Let’s be real sometimes nothing got written or created.

What does a successful week look like?

For me, a successful week is defined by if and how much I am able to write for my own marketing and creative pursuits (like being able to sit here and write this out). Good weeks for me are filled with writing and publishing pieces that get my voice out into the world and helps further my goals of world domination. You can see how that’s going over here.

What does a successful week look like for you?

Identifying the Problem

What exactly was the problem I was having? I had all of these things in my brain that I wanted to write, but couldn’t find the time to write them. However, when I did have time to write, for whatever reason I couldn’t. Subsequently I “wasted” hours trying to write anything that would pop into my head. No joy.

Here’s where it gets fun. Was the problem really that I didn’t have time to write or was it that I was struggling with how to write and where to write?

Spoiler Alert! I had plenty of time! I just wasn’t prepared with the how and the where. With all of the tools we available to us, there really isn’t an excuse for not getting your thoughts out of your head and into a solid tangible state.

Personal Case Study

More recently I have been working to figure out how I write best rather than trying to find a time that works well. Mostly because my life is made up of 15-20 min windows where I have just moments to be creative and get something in a hard copy format.

I’ve done my own case study on myself essentially. Think an observation cycle that included

  • all the times I felt like I could write,
  • what I was doing in that moment, and
  • what did I have available to me that I could use to write with.

This required a little bit of out of the box thinking, being open to different possibilities, and not being stuck in what I had “done before”.

While I didn’t document everything, I did monitor my activities and how I was writing when I felt successful at it. Here is what I found…

  1. Writing on my phone was almost effortless, regardless of the “when”
  2. Using the time I already had in the car, I could dictate (voice to text) into a Google Doc
  3. I had fun finding ways to write without sitting in front of my desktop or using pen and paper

Identifying a Possible Solution

By identifying that I needed to figure out the how rather than the when I now knew what to test to see what worked best for me and what I could use as a solution. Here is where my phone comes in. The first and second observations listed above were reliant on my phone. This means that for whatever reason I have no problem writing on my phone (or at least starting a draft there). Wooooo!!!! Progress!

Results

The results are in! Using my phone as my point of origin for writing has exponentially increased my writing output!

I have been able to write more for myself in the past month than I have in the past year. Crazy right? How is this possible? Because I took the time to learn about myself, analyze what was working and identified how I could replicate that success and apply it in the areas I needed to. I figured out that while I had no problem answering in text and typing on my phone, I hadn’t translated that into time spent writing content.

By observing myself and recognizing where I could improve and streamline my daily activities, I solved my “problem” of not having “time” to write for me 😛

What about you?

What is a problem you have been trying to solve with little success?

Let me know in the comments or hit the messenger bubble and let me know what you are trying to solve!

-Gael

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