Genius...is born through limitation

written by Erica Quam

Are you one of those people who thrives on pressure & deadlines - did you wait to the last minute to work on that term paper?

Do you procrastinate to put BIG things off and wonder why?

Are there things that you can't sit down to work on...or each time you do you feel stuck?

Genius is born through limitation.  

Let's face it. The reality is...genius is not born from having...all the time in the world. 

When you have more time on your hands there are so many things that will get in the way of actually getting it done. Especially in our fast-paced world today. There are so many obstacles & distractions.

With all the many things that grab our attention, brains can go on overload.  We can have so things going on in our heads, that when we don't have a deadline, the mind can wander...all over the place...like a dog, wandering...off leash. 

These are the times to train your mind...sort of like you train a dog.

When you potty train a puppy, you don't allow it all the time in the world to go sniffing around to every spot that smells nice before it actually goes to the bathroom.  Sure...there are times that you can allow for that - as a reward.  You have to train the puppy that this is the time to "do your business" or every trip outside will turn into hours of sniffing around.

When there is something that you actually want to accomplish, you need to give yourself some structure to actually do it.  Your BRAIN needs structure so that it will get to work and stay focused.  It's easy to react to all the emails that come in, the text messages we get, the phone calls, and not actually get anything done.  

Our brain likes reacting...it likes to get small tasks done.  Your brain gets a hit of dopamine every time you check something off your list - no matter how small.

When you have something BIG to do, it can be overwhelming.  It can be hard to start.  Maybe that's because there is a part of you that knows you won't be able to check anything off...for a long time.

Shift your approach.

Break it down into pieces.  Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to work. Set a timer. You'll probably find that with these limits you will actually get more done.

You may think, "Huh, that just seems like more pressure. Won't I just get writer's block?" But give it a try!

Whether it's a project you need to work on, an article or speech you have to write, or some content you need to create...give yourself some structure and limitations around it and see how productive you can be.

  1. Take 5 minutes to break it up into segments - write out simple steps.
  2. Schedule these into your day - actually put it into your calendar.
  3. When the time comes, set the timer for the allotted time.
  4. When the buzzer goes off...stop.

I know...sometimes you get on a roll.  It's hard to stop when the timer goes off.  But, if you actually stop and come back to the next step later, you will probably a) be more excited to get back to it b) more productive the next time as well.

Maybe there are some creative types out there that just need time to "create". But even Michelangelo had to set limitations as he painted the Sistine Chapel - or it would have taken a whole lot longer than 4 years.

Share your comments below...

  • What is ONE thing that you wish you would just finally DO?
  • What are 3-5 steps that it would take to get it done?
  • How long will you allow yourself for each step?

Just by answering these questions, you'll take a huge step towards clarity and already be on your way to getting it done!