The foundation of health and family must be strong before taking on creative or purpose work.
This is all about prioritization and removing the doubt of what I should be working on. Purpose work is my dream. Being a cubicleMonk is my fantasy. But I have learned these can’t happen organically. I have learned through years of trial and error that I need tight prioritization of my other “big rocks” (a post for another day), before I can even consider purpose or fantasy work.
I have come to learn that it just isn’t realistic for me to do purpose or creative work sustainably without taking care of the more fundamental areas of life first. Since I read my first blog sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s, I have dreamed of writing my own blog. This is actually my 5th time creating a blog. But inspirations flare out and life happens. It has taken me decades to figure out how to take care of myself and my family while still being successful at work.
There is still plenty of time and energy left for purpose or creative work but I need a strong structure built around health, family, and traditional career work.
This time around, I will set up a system that ensures I am taking care of both myself and my family before jumping into creative work. The purpose of this system is to take away the intellectual work of prioritization. The game also allows me to do cubicleMonks without feeling guilt or shame that I am letting my health or family down while I pursue this extra dream. My game will almost effortlessly allow me to track when I’ve done what I need to do to look after myself and my family. BTW, I have already solved the dynamic problem of health, family, and traditional work. This game is about extra creative/purpose work.
These are the rules I need to follow before I can jump into cubicleMonks. They can be seen as an algorithm or a game. Or both if you are a geek like me.
In order to do creative work I need:
50 health points AND 3 family stars
Earning Health Points:
2 points: 10 minutes or more of meditation, stretching, exercising, sun-light, or breathing
1 point: sauna, ice shower, detox bath, physical therapy, or on-line class.
Earning Family Stars:
1 star for each hour spent on: minimizing, finances, family projects. Doing these in 15 minute chunks can be very effective.
- Every day, I jot down my points and stars in a physical notebook as part of daily journaling.
- I can do my creative work whenever I have met my targets for health and family. I leave some flexibility regarding family points.
I’m not certain that tying healthy actions to creation work is wise. But I see a synergy between healthy actions and family responsibilities leading to a more grounded and responsible way of doing creative/purpose work. We will see how this plays out.
I should also note that this game was not created on a whim. Lots of practice and many failures led me to know the specific activities that I need in my daily and family life. For each of these activities, I have already proven to myself that they are needed in my life. I would not advise setting up a complex game with new habits. I don’t think this system works if I don’t have full trust in the value of each of the points and stars. During the game, I never have to question if the activity is worth my time. It takes almost no time or energy to know if I can start creative work. I just look at my journal.
One last important note – for me creative work means the work part of the creation. Whenever I have an idea or inspiration, I allow myself to write or type it. It can be in the middle of the night or even pulling over while driving. I don’t let these get lost. The work part is turning these ideas into something that could be made public – like this blog post!
LET THE GAMES BEGIN