December 30, 2021

What gives you leverage versus what gives you headaches


When you’re an artist or an entrepreneur, every penny counts.

Where you spend your money matters. And when resources are limited, you want to make investments that give you leverage so you can get the best bang for your buck.

Acorns, the financial technology and financial services company, recently interviewed two thousand working professionals about their spending habits. According to the report, the average person spends just over a thousand dollars a year on coffee. That’s about three dollars a day.

Square, the leading mobile payments brand, also released data about where people spend their money. The numbers reveal that people spend nine hundred thousand dollars per month on avocado toast. That’s about ten bucks a slice.

Both of these expenditures are delicious, but they’re not exactly investments.

Coffee may give creative professionals a burst of energy to start their day, and avocado toast may satisfy their hunger. But come tomorrow, people are back to zero. Starting over again. There’s no momentum. No continuity.

What artists and entrepreneurs really need is something stronger and more sustainable. They need to invest their money in things that give them leverage. Killing as many birds with as few stones as possible.

One tool that’s been a miracle worker for me is called micro streaking, aka, using the force multiplier of task continuity to increase your motivational incentives.

Whether your work is designing websites, publishing poetry, performing monologues or welding jewelry, you obligate to doing something, anything, every single day. Period. You create a microexecution streak for yourself.

It starts as a commitment and then evolves into a daily practice, all the while enforcing compliance through the fear of breaking the chain.

When I started my publishing company right out of college, I used this tool immediately. I began forcing myself to leave the house around seven. My ritual was to spend an hour at my local coffee shop each morning, reading, reflecting, writing, greeting fellow patrons, and of course, drinking coffee.

This sequence did wonders for my creative habit. It made me feel like a real working professional and gave me a sense of momentum in my daily schedule.

Interestingly enough, after about two years into this streak, my body started having a negative reaction to the coffee. I would have legitimate caffeine withdrawal symptoms like headaches, fatigue and flu like jittering in the afternoon.

Apparently, my body has a heightened hypersensitivity to caffeine. Can’t tolerate small amounts of it without experiencing negative side effects. Which sucks, since coffee is delicious.

But the funny thing is, once I got off caffeine, nothing else about my routine changed. I still kept up my streak of leaving the house at seven, going to the coffee shop, taking time for myself each day and connecting with other people in the community.

That gave me all the energy I needed. And that two dollars a day, or seven hundred bucks a year, could be used for smarter investments.

How are you building momentum and continuity?

If you want a strong and sustainable career, invest your money in creative things that give you leverage, not caffeinated things that give you headaches.

Forget about coffee, forget about avocados, and try biting into your own ideas instead.

Are you still hanging your entire motivational hat on a mild stimulant?