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Today's Marketing Cookie® - Put "Nothing" On Your To Do List
"You'll accomplish more later if you have a little fun this weekend."
The photo for today's fortune came from Michael Shouldice of Edmonton, Canada. Michael is a senior recruiter and relationship manager for Athabasca University. He serves as a cabinet member of the "Open Our World Campaign", a $30 million initiative focused on the future of learning and Athabasca University's role as a leader in four priority areas: Student Awards, Learning Innovation, Research and Community Service. I encourage you to follow Michael on Twitter: @Shouldice
Today's Marketing Cookie is about putting "nothing" on your to do list.
What you may, or may not know about me is that I was born with a disease called RLS (Restless Life Syndrome). It is a disease that feeds ravenously and continuously from my Thassophobia tendencies (fear of being idle). It actively occupies my every conscious moment. Mine is a sickness that has been the source of flattering recognition and if left untreated, will likely be the cause of my torturous demise.
In order to pacify my omnipresent and ever-insatiable need for saying, doing, thinking and creating (and perhaps too many times, they are conducted in this unfortunate sequence), I must always have at least three big projects, three massive projects and three impossible projects all going along at the same time. I love to think, say and do, but mostly, my sickness centers around the creating, which is truly just creating, for the sake of creating.
As I lay uncomfortably this morning upon the proverbial counselor's sofa, I find it easiest to describe a few examples of the big, massive and impossible projects I am conducting simultaneously at this very moment in my life.
You already know about this endeavor to write a new Marketing Cookie blog post every day. About three hours per day should be enough, but now I've signed a contract with a publisher for a series of Marketing Cookie books based on the blog posts. I've embarked on a national speaking tour to share the blogging strategies and tactics I've learned along the way.
The cookies naturally dovetail into my day job as the Chief Marketing Officer at CommCreative, an incredible marketing and advertising agency in Framingham, MA. My day job as a marketer, also extends into my role on the International Board of the American Marketing Association and adds to the time I spend on the local board of the AMA chapter in Boston.
Unrelated to marketing, you may have seen photos of the giant tree house my son and I are building or the massive remodeling project I started a decade ago, converting a 189 year old button factory into our home. Please don't mention the forever-dusty home improvement project to my wife, as I'm still a long way from completing it. (insert frowny face here)
Meanwhile, among all of this, I decided to teach myself the electric guitar with the hopes of getting "good enough" to play in front of people. I practiced about 15 hours a week for a year and got myself into an amateur band. We've had two rock concerts thus far.
The more I've learned about the guitar, the more I've realized how very little I know, so I now take weekly lessons to learn the blues. As part of my weekly lessons, I promised to listen to the blues during my daily commute to the office. After hearing two hours a day of classic blues music, I came to realize that it all sounds "old" to me. So, I wondered what it would sound like if I combined 80's dance pop music together with a classic blues guitar.
So, I've decided to create a new style of blues which I call, "Blues Fusion". If you are interested, you can listen to a sample of Blues Fusion here:
When I have a spare moment, I might toil over one of my paintings, create a new sculpture with coat hangers or add some detail to the giant 8 foot x 4 foot illustration of snakes that I've been working on... but why?
I shared all of that with you, to tell you this. I am completely unable to rest. While the outcome of my restlessness is highly productive and the results are gratifying, I can't stop myself. When I'm invited to sit on the couch and "relax", I struggle to do nothing and I even get a heavy feeling of guilt because there's always something I could be doing.
I admit my condition to you today with great pride, but also with genuine regret. My children say they admire the things I make and the stuff I do, but none of what I create can replace the time I've probably lost just "hanging out" with them. As I've shared many times in the past, my boss has forced me to take "real" vacations with my family and to some degree, thanks to his persistent reminders, I have learned to slow down and enjoy time with them.
As I became more aware of my condition last year, I created this simple to do list. On the surface, it may look like a silly joke, but there is meaning in it for me. When I look at this list on weekends, I remind myself that doing nothing can not be crossed off until I've actually done it. Then, after realizing the value of wasting time, there will be plenty of daylight remaining for as much doing, thinking and creating I desire.
If you suffer from Restless Life Syndrome and can't stop going like me, I encourage you to make a to do list with nothing on it like mine. Unplug the guitar, put down the paint brush, and give some "nothing" time to your family. It has taken me a long time to learn, but I truly believe it is as today's fortune says, "You'll accomplish more later if you have a little fun this weekend."