Buzz Feed? New feeds? Huff Posts? There is no end to the levels of distraction* we’re faced with and in a world that is literally afraid to sit still and focus on one thing for more than 5 minutes something above all else seems to be standing out at the moment and that is consistency. Say it one more time: con-sis-ten-cy. Its loaded but not that difficult to try. It means something a little different to every one but on the whole its about discipline and having regular intervals between executing certain rituals.
If you’re reading a blog or news feed the chances are the team responsible for that piece are a consistent bunch and further more the individual behind that piece also has a special bunch of disciplines they apply on both a personal and professional level. This is an opinion blog run by the staff at IYBI and by no means a self help advice blog but heck this is just too juicy a topic not to write a list for so here is our 7 steps to applying consistency to your working day:
1. HAVE A BEAUTIFUL CALENDAR DIARY
Having a beautiful diary is the equivalent of feng shui for the mind. Before you’ve even considered the day and what it holds, with a beautiful diary you’re off to a great start. Our diary of choice is none other than the A5 Moleskine. A short walk to your local art store or market will reveal many beautiful craft diaries which are just as awesome.
2. WRITE A LIST EVERY DAY
Boil the kettle and prepare your favorite warm beverage. Consistency starts at a micro level and unless your day has discipline you can’t expect your working week or month or year to have any. A day list should be undertaken in a place other than your work station to allow those creative juices to flow. It should include all the things you can realistically complete today and feel free to add tasks to other days if that feels appropriate. Always look back on the day before and see if anything was missed. Stabilo Boss original highlighers make for a great way to mark complete tasks.
3. KEEP A VISUAL DIARY
What many people call the too-hard-basket, we like to call our long list and a visual diary (like the 120pp A4 Windsor & Newton) is the perfect place to keep a written diary of ideas, sketches and long lists. Many of your ideas are impossible to complete in a day but just like a dream will slip through fingers like dry sand unless you write them down somewhere.
Okay so now that we have the basics covered, we’re in a position to start this so called consistency. It’s going to be a little different for everyone. In the case of this piece we’re talking business like rituals. We have a few great examples from clients who probably do it better than us. The most recent was a postcard print run for Wildlife Hair (who are now Wildlife Hair & Beauty). For over 10 years these guys have organised a photo shoot once a year to highlight and showcase their mad skills and back it up with a great postcard and calendar print run which we’re delighted to be a part of.
4. CREATE YOUR LONG LIST
At best we only get about 3-4 hours of really awesome focus in a day so use them well. Your day list should be short enough to complete in 2 or 3 hours on a busy day so that you can give yourself an hour or two to focus on the longer list projects. These need to be thought about every day other wise they will not progress. They also need to be date driven. Maybe its a monthly newsletter. Maybe its a yearly mailout. Whatever the case may be, plan, sketch, draft and repeat.
5. COPY OTHERS
Its kind of creepy to say but you’re not going to get anywhere unless you start by copying others. Its not even an issue with the greatest artists and marketers but for some reason its the smaller guys that would rather do nothing than copy a market leader. Now we’re not saying steal IP or anything like that. We mean that there are probably great models amongst a few leaders in your industry that if you watch carefully will give you a few hints on how they do it and that’s a great place to start.
6. TRY SOMETHING ORIGINAL & START OBSSESSING
As soon as you feel comfortable with your rituals its time to try something completely unique and original. Be prepared for complete failure but at least you gave something new a try and hopefully learnt something along the way. Trendhunter did their best to cover this topic in January.
7. SHARE YOUR STORY
There’s no better example of ideas going viral than that of a band or musician. Of course you’re dealing with many factors like taste, charisma and raw talent but what you’re also looking at is the most disciplined and self obssessed business model there could possibly be. So… start to think and act a bit like a rock start and share your story. You can do this by starting a blog and sharing your progress on Facebook and Twitter.
*many of which these days are extremely high quality so don’t feel bad if you’re a little distracted. It actually takes a whole other level of discipline to ignore the noise but let’s leave that for another post.