November Challenge: 30 Days of Product Making

November Challenge: 30 Days of Product Making

I’m in a kind of productivity lull. I am managing only to get a few things done every day as my energy levels have faded. I’m not sure what causes it—it may be some variation of Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome (SADS)—but I can describe the feeling: it’s a lack of excitement or anticipation regarding the future.

In the past I have tried a bunch of attitude-improving tricks alongside “epic projects” that I hoped would jack my energy levels up. They work for a time, but invariably they come to an end. This year, I’m of the mind that it just might be a seasonal lull that’s natural; is it even possible to be excited all the time? Maybe I need these lulls to appreciate excitement!

Details follow!

Boosting My Enthusiasm

Having come to this experimental conclusion, I’m thinking I might as well see how much stress my energy-depleted self can stand. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it’s that my mind is not always reliable when it is harboring negative reactions to actions I am contemplating. When my mind is tired or unwilling, and I’m aware that it’s in that cranky place, I have to switch my energy inputs to draw from outside sources. I used to feel some shame in this, wanting to be completely self-powered by will alone 100% of the time, but you know what? I’m not. I accept this.

It so happens that November is National Novel Writing Month, when a whole lot of people around the world work on their 50,000 words in 30 days. While I’m not participating this year, I do feel the desire to do something that requires some kind of daily commitment. So this month I’m going to try to get one new product/project a day completed once more for the month of November. The last time I did this for my so-called February Challenge back in 2013, and it was highly fulfilling.

Maintaining Energy

For this year’s challenge, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to maintain the same level of productivity because I’m still feeling low on energy, and am susceptible to mental exhaustion after just a few hours of programming for a client project. Rather than commit to a brand new downloadable product every day, I’m going to define this year’s products as follows as a “thing” that fits the following definition:

  • Anything tangible I can make that can be reused, shared, or automate my creative support processes.
  • Anything that can be sold, or helps sell something I’ve made before.

I’ll still do the daily blog posts describing what I did, and where it fits into the grand scheme of Dave-ness. Hopefully it will be interesting, and maybe I’ll even learn/relearn something new about myself. Though frankly, I’m a little weary of having this conversation with myself every year.


To help prime the pump, I’ve made a list of requests that I had starred in my email and other places:

  • Make a Fancy Instructional Video
  • Make a Post Collection Page of Relevant Topics
  • Design a Padded Version of Fast Book Outliner
  • Design Tina’s Day Grid Balancer, Revisited
  • Design Darmesh’s Financial Goals Tracker
  • Design Sam’s 4×6 ETT for Pro Photographers
  • Design Something about Time Quantification for Brandon
  • Design “Feeling Tracking ETT” for Juan
  • Design ETT Tracking Enhancements for Adam
  • Design Jeremy’s Multi-Graph paper for Financial Charting
  • Add Capitalized Names in Compact Calendar (this apparently wasn’t an issue)
  • Design Eric’s Super Horizontal Calendar Timeline
  • Design Matt’s Hole-Punchable TPT
  • Design Vladimir’s Top-Bound ETP Reporter Style DONE
  • Make ETP Planner Updates for 2015-2016 (est.time 4 hours)
  • Make Compact Calendar Updates for 2015-2016 DONE
  • Design Digital Notepad versions of tools for Patroklos
  • Design ETP Stickers for Bill DONE
  • Design Gym Tracker (and go to the Gym!)
  • Design Editorial Calendar Tracker
  • Design Cool Product Branding
  • Make Project 1401 Progress

I’m wiped now, so I’m going to end this blog post here and get a good night’s sleep!

UPDATE: I’ve put up the November 2014 Challenge Page so we can see everything in once place!