I just published this post on my Patreon, in the Patrons only segment. I’m including it here as an example of what I do, and because it explains more what I am doing here.
Last night, I had a long talk with Felipe Witchger, one of my alumni friends from the altMBA. He and I have talked a few times since the altMBA finished a month ago. Through that, we’ve seen a bit more about what it means to be settling back into the humdrum life of normal productivity after a month-long sprint that forced us to ship repeatedly. For him, it means iterating on his goals, perhaps scaling back the timeline for a project. For me, it has meant freezing in my tracks again, overwhelmed by possible projects, even as I try to cut them all out.
One of the main issues I surfaced was my constant switching between negative thoughts surrounding my work life involving constraints (I’m too tired, I need more coffee, I haven’t slept, I have to do my taxes, I need a break, etc.) and positive swings that also take my focus (I need to start this project, I should do X, maybe if I journal every day, etc). Both of these negatively influence my focus. Over the course of the conversation, I realized that this framing wasn’t actually helpful. If it was, it would constructively lead to me being more disciplined. Instead, it makes me constantly doubt myself, and thus get little done.
What if I lightened up, had some fun, and instead tried to tackle the real issue behind a lot of my grievances?
You see, all of my negative thoughts and my positive escapes center around either making money or continuing avenues of thought and effort that could make me money. Why? Because I have an incredible amount of debt that continues to weigh me down. If I didn’t have the debt, I would be a bit more free to do what I want to do with my life - I would be able to set aside large swaths of time to learn, to run, to meditate, to explore nature. I don’t do that now, and I sit at a computer for most of the day, instead. I do these things because of my loans.
So, I bet Felipe that I could make $2117.91 by our next talk, on Sunday. That number comes directly from my smallest high-interest loan: it’s what is left of a Stafford loan from the US Government, currently at 6.5% APR. I want that loan gone by Sunday. If I didn’t make that goal, I’ll pay Felipe 10% of what I owe.
This morning, that’s what I sat down to do. I’m free to approach that moneymaking any way I want; there aren’t really any stipulations on how that works. And I’m free to use any resources I have.
So far, I’ve made $260 from my friend Dean, who asked me to build a website for his son, and to help out with his open source project. That’s pretty great work, and I’m looking forward to building the website; I have a very clear vision of how to do it, and it shouldn’t take longer than the four hours I am contracted for.
I have a few more thousand to make. And I can’t wait to earn it.
I decided that, instead of just trying one thing and another thing, I would keep a public log of the process. No one is asking me to do that, but it’s just what I am doing as a marketing plan. You can see that, here: https://github.com/RichardLitt/2117.91USD.
I’m a bit embarrassed by it, but within the posts I explain my rationale, and I’ve decided not to worry too much about appearances. What better way to proceed is there than to try to solve the biggest issue in my life - debt - while also ignoring all of the side projects that take more time than they give? After all, this is what I am trying to do with my life: approach all of my issues with levity and grace, and begin again each day with a beginner’s mind.