Life in the Studio

How to Produce Content when You're Totally at Capacity

How to get that content flowing when you're totally overwhelmed!

Producing content.
What does that even mean?

I started out last year with this grand *MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS 2016* plan, but it wasn’t practical for our team of two with a full design schedule. I was struggling to keep up and feeling like a failure. This year, I don’t have a marketing plan - or pan for communications or content. As it stands, we have 6 months of work waiting to be blogged, formatted into case studies and added to our portfolio. (2016 was quite the hustle year for us.) Our social channels are quiet and I don’t quite know how to break the silence there.

It’s hard not to look at that stack of “we should’s and should be’s” and feel overwhelmed. Producing content feels like homework.

A business coach once taught me this awesome way of reframing things. You get up out of your seat and literally move around the room and think about things from a different perspective. It’s so helpful to take time to think of things in a different way. If I feel stuck, I try to move around. See what things look like from over there.

Maybe producing our content should feel more like a celebration. I want that.
Aha... Now, how do we get to there?

Most importantly, how do we get to there without burning out, without throwing our other systems into chaos, and without destroying the joy I want it to bring?

I tend to go 180% full throttle into new things. This makes me an excellent learner, a great problem solver and a good consultant. But that full throttle can wreak havoc on my inner peace if I don't keep it in check. I have a hard time scaling my goals to my capacity.

Lately my solution for this has been writing out everything I want to accomplish and choosing 5%. I identify what the most important items are and scale them back. By just working on the 5%, I build momentum. After I successfully, non-stressfully can accomplish that 5%, I’ll add another 10%.

My 5% looks like:

  • crafting an email once a month for clients and people in on the behind the scenes newsletter
  • posting to Instagram 1x a week, I’ll have it auto push to Facebook
  • posting a blog post 2x a month
  • continuing to add work to our portfolio, scaling back the intensity of our case studies, 1-2 hours/week

Let’s see how it goes. How do you handle your social media and producing content? What would be your 5%?

Any tips, tricks or questions?

P.S. If you’re ever looking for help on the writing front, let me suggest Signify! We recently designed their branding and site. I can tell you, Kristi is on point!

Apple Orchard with Family

My brother, Jacob and Jackson

My brother, Jacob and Jackson

We snuck away for a day in Ellijay, Georgia with my sweet sister-in-law, my brother and their beautiful twins.

To me the best part of fall is the way family and friends pull in a little closer. It’s an unconscious and subtle thing. Soups and chilis make their way onto menus. All the recipes that beg to be shared with big groups. Festivals pop up almost every weekend, and the weather is perfect for wandering. 

I guess it’s harvest season, right? The time of year when everyone pulls together. I love that.

Here’s a few of my favorite shots from this weekend. 

Liam

Liam

Jenny, the coolest mom I know

Jenny, the coolest mom I know

Texture study, #artsy

Texture study, #artsy

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

The Cartecay River

The Cartecay River

My Dusty Beau

My Dusty Beau

One of the hardest thing about running a business of your own is that there are very few true vacations. An urgent email or last minute opportunity is sure to pop up. Honestly that part of entrepreneurship really disappointed me at first.

Truth is unplugging for a week is not realistic right now. But. Unplugging for a day is very. very realistic. So we will pepper in more days like this. Days of mountain air, sweet moments, and small adventures.

xo,
Mads

How Adventure Can Change the Way You Handle Work Stress

What starting anything feels like.

We live just 45 minutes away from “hypercoaster” Goliath. It goes 200 feet feet high and has 12 story drops. Dusty really wanted to go to Six Flags this summer. We saw our window of opportunity closing, so we decided to go! My roller coaster experience previous to this looks like: that slow one for kids at American Adventures, Space Mountain, and my classic 2006 panic attack at the front of the line at the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. (Yay me!)

I’d never been to Six Flags. The lady at the gate looked at me like I was nuts. I was terrified, but pretty excited too. I mean I just made it into the park, shattering preconceived notions right from the gate. We started on the Dahlonega Mine Train which was pretty fun and surprising. Next up we did the Looney Tunes one, faster, but definitely a confidence booster.

We headed over to Mind Bender. We’re standing in line. We get buckled in. And Dusty mentions the loops. LOOPS. We take off and I find myself in the fetal position, eyes closed pretty much the whole time. PSA: It physically hurts to ride a roller coaster like that. It hurts to resist all that force.

That sounded very Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I meant it in more of a physics sense.

After that experience, I was sure I was done with roller coasters. I’d failed Dusty’s only dream for me to become a coaster crusher. We decided to take a break on those (terrifying) swings that go around in a circle. I thought about a lot on those swings. Like, suddenly we are super high and I’m just in this little plastic seat with a bar across my lap. And man, that’s kind of a good metaphor for life. We're just here, where we are, doing all we can do. I thought about yoga and the idea that sometimes the best thing to do in moments of stress is to just observe and acknowledge everything that’s going on. I started collecting data like a scientist. What does it feel like when I look away from the swing in front of me? What about when I look down? What’s the sky look like? What are my feet doing? I breathed some really good yoga breaths, was incredibly thankful for my local yoga studio, and eventually relaxed enough to enjoy to ride.

Knowledge is powerful, and calming.

After the swings, I wanted to try the Mind Bender again and experience it instead of wishing it to be over. I sat straight up and blinked maybe twice the whole time. It was still scary, but because I wasn’t resisting all the forces, it didn’t hurt. I got to see a little bit of where I was going, and it was really cool. That second time became more of an experiment in curiosity.

It became an adventure.

I tend to face life and my work with the idea that things will only be good when the bad stuff is over. I miss so much in thinking that way - there’s so much to see and learn in every loop. Tough things are actually easiest to face with your eyes open and back straight.

If we could look at our work with a sense of adventure, I think we’d be a lot less stressed out when things don’t go exactly to plan. The next time things get terrifying, collect all the data you can.

Examine where you are, own it, and take the next step in your adventure.

We can choose to look at our career as a logically planned path to success in which we resist and hurt with every bump and detour. But. I think it would be better to look at our work as an adventure. Those detours will always be surprising, but expected and celebrated as learning opportunities.

So, I didn’t ride Goliath this time, but I rode a bunch of other scary coasters, and I think I crushed them. Here's to the adventure!