Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Let It Fall :: How I Stay Productive Throughout My Children’s Book Project (Part 1)

Do you know that feeling of working on your projects all the time but not getting much done?

…me too.

Between working on my next children’s book, blog posts, learning Japanese, full-time job, social life, and dealing with Lupus and the fatigue that comes with it, I sometimes feel like I’m working a lot and not really going anywhere at all at the same time.

It’s very much like cycling with the wrong gear. You’re pedaling like crazy, but you’re not really moving any faster.

At the end, you’re just exhausted and frustrated.

How do we figure out the right gear for us?

In order to become and stay more productive throughout my goals, I started to track the struggles I faced while working on my children’s book project, and how I overcame them.

Each week I’m sharing an insight I discovered:

Maybe You’re Spread Too Thin.

This is one of the most common problems.

Let’s face it. Sometimes we just need to let things fall and move on.

This might seem deceptively easy but it’s REALLY hard. And that’s because we’re great at tricking ourselves.

When we think about the things we have to do, everything seems makes sense. But does it, really?

Here’s an exercise that helped me out:

Step 1: Write it all down. Especially if you think you don’t have to.

When setting my  2018 goals, I had a much bigger list in my head. When I stopped to write it down I realized how insane it was:

  • Create two children books, participate in the children’s book competition this summer with yet another project, polish my Spanish and French, learn Japanese (writing and speaking FLUENTLY), keep a weekly blog and art to go with it, go to the gym every day and get super fit, balance freelance as a secondary income source and get better at my day job while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, make more time for friends and family.

Phew. Just writing this got me tired. #overachiever

This might sound obvious, but writing it all down really put things in perspective. It’s also easier to catch vague goals like “Make more time for friends and family.” What does that even mean? What is more time? There’s no way to measure this.

The question to answer is: what TRULY matters to you this year?

Step 2: From that list keep only the things that matter the most and delete anything that isn’t measurable.

Here’s how my list looked after the second pass:

  • Create one children’s book, learn Japanese enough to sustain a minimum conversation, keep up with my blog and the art, continue with day-job, go to the gym 2 to 3 times a week.

Ok. MUCH better. Now I can start planning how to tackle this.

When we want it all, we end up overwhelmed. If you don’t even know where to start, give this a try.

What Does Your List Look Like?

I’d love to hear from you! Please share your old and new lists, your discoveries or questions in the comment section below. <3


PS: Now that we’ve identified what we want to work on, next week I’ll share tips on how to get started!

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  1. Craig Russell - 3 years ago

    Great post, Ania!

    I feel the exact same way. Last year I had a huge list, but I only achieved two things from it. It was totally unrealistic.

    This year I have set two definite goals:

    1. Finish one graphic novel
    2. Learn to drive

    I also want to leave my day job to work as a full-time comics creator, but that may be more of a 5 year plan kinda thing. I’m not sure.

    I know there will be other things that pop up during the year (courses, projects, etc.), but if I get these two done, I will consider 2018 a success. 🙂

    Can’t wait for part 2. 😀

    Love and hugs,

    • aniamarcos - 3 years ago

      Thank you, Craig!
      Your list looks wonderful 🙂 Looking forward to seeing your progress!

      Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot!

  2. Sarah - 3 years ago

    Your advice about deleting things that aren’t measurable is LIFE CHANGING. 😀 This is awesome!

    I’m realizing more and more that things on my list that are kicking around my brain as “things to do” aren’t really things I WANT to do. For example: I want to learn watercolor. But… why? It’s not like I need another avenue to be creative. (Knitting, painting, ukulele, violin, etc…) I’d much rather spend that time advancing digital painting – it’s the thing I’m really stupidly passionate about. So why distract?

    When I try to turn it into a measurable goal (“Make 3 WC paintings/week”) it illuminates how little I actually want to invest in advancing that goal.

    When I say “I want to learn watercolor,” I really mean “It’d be neat to *know* how to watercolor…” …And that’s not enough of a reason to subtract time from my real goals.

    Anyway. 😀 Thank you for writing your blog! ♥

    • aniamarcos - 3 years ago

      That’s a great way to put it, Sarah! If it’s not your passion, then it probably is a distraction <3

      I love your digital paintings and can't wait to see what you do next 😀 Keep your focus, you ROCK!

      PS: I'm so happy my advice is helpful, thank you! 🙂

  3. Anouck - 3 years ago

    This is exactly what I needed right now ! ^^ Keeping the list realistic by asking “what does matter to me ?” makes such a big change.

    My goals are :
    – complete my vis dev portfolio (using the word complete instead of finish is making a difference – and less pressure to do things “prefectly”)
    – make one puppet for stop-motion
    – read at least 5 books about writing / storytelling.

    These goals will require a number of new skills to learn and acquire. I feel like if I plan this well – and stick to it- I could achieve them.
    So I’m switching again to a different way of scheduling that I think will be more efficient and productive – and less time-consuming to maintain on a daily basis.

    Looking forward to Part 2 ! 😀

    Hugs !

    • aniamarcos - 3 years ago

      Your list is looking good, Anouck! 😀 Thank you for sharing!! <3 I'm super looking forward to seeing how your projects move along.

      Also, I think you'll like part 2... Can't wait to get it out 😉


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