How to be an Idea Machine (JHP Day 4)

How to be an Idea Machine (JHP Day 4)

If there’s anything I’ve realised in my journey to write interesting blog posts on this website, or cooking posts on my food account - it’s that the amount of work you have to put in behind the scenes is so much more than the finished product.

It’s a really easy idea to grasp, but actually considering it from experience, I fully understood how much effort there was in having ideas and explaining them clearly, or, in the case of a food blog, knowing what order to do things to make them look good, and how to use video effectively.

When I started, it felt really difficult for me to make anything. So I focused my intentions on just making, no matter what the quality was like.

As time went on, I started to find ways of making it easier to move through the process of idea -> execution -> final product.

Removing Friction

Paper & Pixels Design Studio

One big goal of mine has been to try and make these processes more frictionless. I think it comes with doing it everyday - as it becomes a habit, you have less resistance to getting started on things you’ve done before. And as you develop your processes, you naturally find ways to speed up.

This holds true for all habits.

The concept is explained in great depth in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and also in this video by Ali Abdaal, who looks at it through the perspective of environment design (TLDR below):

The idea is that friction is this force that comes in between our intentions to do something and our actions of actually doing it.

Say I want to get more fit - intention. But my room is messy, or I'm really tired, or that next episode of (insert show here) is on soon.

For whatever reason, I'm not able to actually do it. Those factors that stop us from doing it, whatever 'it' is, happen as a result of friction.

But they can be overcome. For me, it happened in a number of ways.

When I first started blogging, I planned this 'Blog Workflow' page on my Notion account, where I organised each of my posts, their progress status and content. Adapting the idea from somewhere online, I spent a decent amount of time making sure I’d included all the relevant fields, the statuses, the workflow process through which I’d be going through - and finished it, satisfied that now I had a system to run through, which made things a lot easier.

But counterintuitively, I realised I didn’t actually need it. All I needed was this one column, for ‘Writing’. I’d put my posts in there, move them to my website by copying and pasting, make them look presentable and hit publish.

It really goes to show that sometimes the simple solutions are the best. Whatever works for you, follow that.

What I made:

What I used:

The same thing happened for my food account. Admittedly, I was lacking resources when it came to filming - I had no gear apart from my phone, some Tupperware boxes, and whatever other kitchen utensils I could use to prop my phone up and record while I had both hands full cooking (turns out if you find a glass or a mug that’s just the right size, you can get a pretty stable stand).

I adapted ways of filming to make the process faster and easier.

When it came to editing, I initially started in my photos app, trimming and cropping all the videos that I filmed, trying to get them to mesh together and work in a way that Instagram would like. Then I realised video editing software would be a lot more useful. It seemed like too much of a faff to be uploading all of my footage to my laptop to edit, so I found Splice - an app on my phone, which let me edit my first, very basic videos for free.

I was so happy with how this one turned out :)

These kinds of things only happened through practice, which is really reinforcing for me the rewards that I’m getting from this 30 day challenge - the experience of repetition.

The Value of Feedback

Even as I move forward with these methods or systems, I've been finding new routes to go down.

For example, while editing my cooking videos, I tested out two different methods - unsure about which would do better, or which people preferred.

So to solve the problem, I asked my audience for help - putting up a poll on Instagram and gauging what people liked.

I think one really undervalued aspect of life that I tend to forget about is the idea of running things past people - friends or family, to get advice. Different perspectives offer new insights, and things you wouldn't necessarily be able to see from your own view, so it can actually be really invaluable to just get another opinion, even on the smallest things.

The Dip

Every time you start a new habit, and look at developing it, you notice a dip after the first few days. I'm pretty sure this happens with everyone, as a sort of 'relapse' into old ways. Like I explained before, it comes from the friction that's introduced through new factors that enter into your life.

For me, I noticed that dip in productivity quite recently with my blog. It felt a lot like writer's block - I was struggling to find things that I genuinely wanted to share and talk about.

Even as I'm writing this, I feel like that 'relapse' has gotten me into my old mindset of perfectionism, wanting to make sure I'm writing about something people will actually value.

The truth is, when you're just starting out, you are going to relapse into old ways, even if it's only by a small bit.

When you have the choice to do anything with your time, it's actually pretty hard to stick to one thing. Humans get bored, and they naturally move on to find more interesting things.

Young caucasian woman on leather couch working at a laptop while browsing her phone

But I've always found that the best results come from doubling down on what works for you. Things that are tough, but rewarding.

So, taking my own medicine, I'm going to keep going.

I've actually considered talking about some more diverse topics, past the ideas of writing, content creation and productivity and into some more aerospace related stuff. I guess we'll see where that goes. :)

On the off chance that you've read something on here and loved it, or want to read more, feel free to shoot me a message on my socials:





The feedback helps massively. Thanks!