Delayed Gratification: A Self-Discipline Strategy For Digital Creatives

One of the strategies that Mel Robbins shares in her book Stop Saying You’re Fine is the practise of delayed self-gratification as a way to outsmart ourselves and beat our resistance to get things done. In order to achieve or accomplish goals, we don’t need to start a war with ourselves but we do need to understand that human beings have a natural tendency to keep the status quo aka their comfort zone. Therefore, we must find clever ways to stay motivated, self-disciplined and committed to our goals and dreams because let’s be honest: if it was easy, the self-help book industry wouldn’t exist.

Click here to read my book review of “Stop Saying You’re Fine” by Mel Robbins

I’m trying to improve my blog performance and workload at the moment by creating a schedule of content. I know this is basic advice for bloggers but I never really liked the idea of planning and scheduling posts. My approach to blogging over the last four years has been to go with the flow and wait for inspiration to come. I know, I know. You can’t wait for it, sometimes you just have to sit down and get a piece of writing done, even if you think it’s rubbish. There’s another reason why I don’t like planning and scheduling much tough. It might not be true to every creative out there, but I honestly like to create in the moment and then hit the publish button right away.

It’s the dopamine high we love so much as human beings because we misperceive being high with feeling good. There is a huge difference between having an emotional spike, which is short-lived, and a sense of wellbeing that lasts and stays with you over an extended period of time. For instances, if I sit down, write and publish my posts right away, I don’t really savour and curate the process of creating and sharing. I create something in the moment but I don’t give myself the time to review or even improve it. I don’t connect with it so much or in the deepest way possible. I get the immediate creative high but I don’t get as much satisfaction from my creative process as I could if I had the intent to plan and curate my content.

Thinking about scheduling my content has allowed me to realise that I can remain spontaneous and yet invest more of myself in the process of writing and publishing. By having a timeline, I can prepare to write and create the intention of being more consistent with it. I have been writing only when there is a rush of instant creative energy and I have been a slave to the high I get when I release that same energy into the world without giving it a second thought or the chance to reshape and transform my writing. I just release it and I don’t come back to it, maybe because there was no time to develop a sense of ownership or even pride regarding what I create.

I believe that as a digital creative I can benefit from a more organised and thoughtful publishing experience. If I create a weekly commitment of writing down a blog post, I will surely be more prepared and ready to just sit down and write. That will help me with being more consistent and more present as a writer but also more available to those who read me. Instead of having a spur of a moment kind of relationship with writing and publishing, I can have a reliable and more respectful bond not only with my own creative process but also with my readers. I just have to delay the instant gratification I get from writing and publishing. I must follow the example and performance of the 30% successful kids in the Mischel’s marshmallow experiment who managed to resist eating just one marshmallow so that they could later eat two instead. You can learn more about this experiment in the video below.

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