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The Bummer Cycle

Today we are happy to welcome SpringBoard graduate Margot Madison of Margot Madison Creative and Dear Liza to the blog today to talk about how to pull yourself out of a funk when your productivity is hitting a wall.

bummer cycle

I’ll be honest, it’s been a pretty bad summer for me. I do my design work in a small studio in my basement, which I intended to protect me from the disturbances of the Outside World. But somehow, People (my three kids) have discovered my cement encased design haven, despite my efforts of concealment with a closed door and the use of an office phone. No matter how many times I ignore those People, they will not leave me alone until I respond their most pressing daily concerns such as: “Why can’t we go to the beach?”, “Would somebody please fix my bike chain?”,  “Why do I have to clean up the glitter?”, “Why are you always on Facebook?” and my favorite from this week, “Can you PLEASE clean the poop off the dog because he stinks and we are watching TV.”

The interruptions have leached into my productivity like a toxin and made me feel totally impotent. I can’t finish anything, so why bother starting? I don’t have what it takes to succeed because I don’t know how to manage my life and I can’t finish anything. Before I know it, I’m on the Bummer Cycle.

I’ve certainly not solved my problems, although August 23rd (aka the first day of school) will make a big difference. I do have a few tricks that I use to get off the Bummer Cycle I’m willing to share if you happen to be on the same road.

1. I meet with a group of creatives weekly. We can celebrate or bitch as needed and somehow knowing that I’m not the only one ‘losing it’ makes me feel a little bit better (for the moment).

2. I work on jigsaw puzzles. I know that’s super nerdy, but I swear jigsaw puzzles are chock full of life’s metaphors, such as, “Order is achieved one piece at a time, and there are no shortcuts or Aps to get you there.”

3. I listen to this guy’s little pep talk daily. He addresses ALL the parts of the bummer cycle and manages to make them into something positive.

4. I walk this labyrinth near my house. For me, the most comforting aspect of a labyrinth is that you can never make a wrong turn because there are no wrong turns. How about that for reassurance when life seems like one big cussed-up decision after another?

5. I make sure I achieve at least one thing each day, no matter how small. And some days, it’s just finishing the top border on the puzzle.

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