New Adventures was a fantastic conference, but my favourite talk of all was Jessica’s – who had come “dressed as the internet” in her crazy leggings with photos of cats all over them…seriously!
The subject of her talk was called Procrastiworking – which is a word she coined for the work you do (or feeling like doing) while putting off the work you don’t feel like doing. Jessica is a big promoter of procrastiworking, and most of her best projects have come from putting off normal client work. She feels that the work you do while procrastinating is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life, which is something I really, really agree with. Most of our best work is often done in our own side projects!
Unfortunately for us, it’s not always possible to do the work we really want to do AND pay the bills, so Jessica spoke on finding that ultimate sweet spot of work, where you love doing it and get paid for it. All of our work can be categorised in three ways:
- A job just pays the bills
- A career is rewarding
- A calling is work that’s impossible to get away from, and is what we should strive to get.
Jessica thought that the first step to finding our work happiness is to figure out the work you love to do, which is hard. She mentioned writing down all of the jobs you’ve done and figure out what you loved about each of them. Figuring out what you love about your current work is a lot easier than figuring out something distant you’d love to do. Regular jobs, while not glamorous, are great because they enable us to do side projects that make you feel excited and motivated, which makes you want to do more of the projects, which eventually turn into paying work.
Each project we do has a conceptual and a making stage, of which Jessica enjoys the making stage the best. If we can figure out which we love most, it’ll help us narrow down what we would really love to do. She also mentioned avoiding burning out and creative block by having enough projects at one time, so that you can walk away from one and work productively on another and then come back to the first project ready to go. But of course, don’t take on too much work because then you’ll end up even more overwhelmed.
Jessica thinks a lot of us choose our careers based on their fancy titles, but this is something we should avoid, because you might end up not enjoying the actual day to day work those jobs entail. She advises to give yourself the title of the work you want most, in her case she calls herself a letterer, but she ends up diversifying herself in her side projects. Jessica said it’s nearly impossible to get all of your career happiness from client work alone, and diversifying on the side allows her to scratch creative itches and try new things.
It’s important to do your research on your side projects, but procrastiworking is more about exercising the part of your brain that isn’t used in regular client work.
Did you see Jessica’s talk? What did you think about it?