How Pottering About Could Be Key To Boosting Your Creative Output

Ev Chapman
September 21, 2021
1 min read

What if I told you prolific creators don't spend hours in deep work?

My parents loved to garden. I remember long summer evenings where they wandered around our front yard pottering about the garden. Watering plants, pulling out weeds. It was never a back-breaking session. Just joyfully enjoying the work of tending the garden.

That's often how I look at my creative work. On any given day I could be working on a course outline, writing copy, building notion products, recording podcasts or videos, hanging out with friends on Twitter, and working a full-time job in the mix.

I don't have long stretches of time for deep writing or building. Instead, I employ the potter about approach. Working on a 10-minute outline here, or some quick email copy there. Using the lightest touch to move things forward.

The key to this approach is my Up Next Piles. Without them, I'd be wandering around aimlessly looking for the next thing to do. Instead at just the right time, they hand me the very next action to get done.

Here's what that looks like in action

  • I Break Things Down Into Stages. My writing has five rough stages: Brain Dump, Outline, Write, Edit, Publish.
  • I Create Lists to bring things up quickly. I use tags in this case, but you can just as easily use a status or drop down to indicate where something is up to.
  • I Potter About. Now when I have 10 minutes I'll bring up a list and choose one thing to move to the next stage.

The great thing about the potter about approach is that even big projects never feel like heavy lifting.

Small actions turn into big results.

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