It’s At Work Day again here on The Friendly Anarchist! Today’s guest is Mars Dorian, the crazyness-leads-to-epic-greatness mad genius designer and branding consultant from MarsDorian.com. I was lucky enough to meet Mars in person a couple of times and even visit his studio. As we chatted so much about our different approaches to tackling our creative work, I was sure he would be a great guest for this series.
Here’s Mars on his work day, sit-on-your-ass sessions, and the workplace he (almost!) loves more than his mother!
Right now, I focus on two major things. Designing and consulting. One improves my visual skills, the other my social skills. And both bring me moolah – which is always sweet. Pretty much everything I do nowadays falls into those two work categories. I also have this mentality:
Whenever I’m alone, I use all of my time to learn and work. Meaning – I constantly do stuff that makes me better and/or brings me money.
Whenever I’m out with people, I focus all my energies on having fun and bringing the people I’m with also a good time.
The question that I always ask myself is this – how can I make this better ?
I think it’s important to really master your focus in order to get and provide maximum value in life.
2. Do you have any specific time at which you normally get up? Do you use an alarm clock or do you just sleep until you’re well-rested?
Shit, since I’m my own boss, my schedule is totally messed up. I usually work until 5-6 in the morning, which sucks in the winter, because I go to bed when the sun rises and wake up during sunset – so no daylight for me. ;) My mother’s not the only one who calls me a vampire. Sigh.
I now force myself to bring more rhythm into it, but it’s one tough-tough-ass challenge.
3. Do you have any routines?
Yeah, I always listen to music and do exercise after I wake up. I get my body super-energized, then take a shower, eat a light breakfast and start the working day.
After every 30 to 40-minute sit-on-your-ass session (I only work with my computer), I do exercises (read: dance like a monkey on fire listening to music) and then start the next working session. We all know that sitting 24/7 is killing us so we have to fight back.
4. Any rituals to find focus?
I do incantations before I create my work. They are pretty much positive affirmations that you say out loud, preferably with mucho passion and determination. Stuff like: Today I, Mars Dorian, will rock my work. I will produce KICK-ass stuff. I WILL PRODUCE KICK-ASS STUFF.
It sounds ridiculous and people looking at you will think you’re getting cuckoo. But it’s more effective than drinking a barrel of coffee. The stronger you say those incantations (or better: scream), the more energized you’ll be. Try it.
Also: I finish my working day by thanking the internet for letting me do my work. I bow down to my Macbook while the browser tab is open and say a silent thank you. Seriously. I do this every single day.
5. Where do you work? Any important things in your work environment?
I used to work at home but switched to a studio, which has become my second home now. It’s ultra-important to switch your environments if you want to stay productive and creative. If you’re stuck in the same place, you drown in your rut and produce shitty work. That’s why I try to change places every few weeks.
Here’s a photograph of my current studio working place – I luv it almost more than my mother:
6. What tools do you use to help you get things done?
I used to have lists and programs, but didn’t enjoy using them. I mainly use Google calendar to schedule my events. I believe in simplicity.
The only productivity tool I use nowadays is an online stopwatch that I schedule for 30 minute periods. Basic. But it works like white magic.
7. How many hours do you work on a normal day? Do you take pauses as they come or at specific and fixed times?
That totally depends. But I work every single day. Sometimes 6 hours. Sometimes 14 hours. When I’m in flow, I forget time and sleep and work through a day or two.
I believe the whole work-life-balance is useless rubbish. If you feel fit, you can work a lot. If you tired like hell, you will rest. The body takes what it needs. No need to torture it with any moral rules.
8. Anything else you’d like to share concerning your approach to get things done?
Yeah. Time limits and deadlines are bloody brilliant. Doing that and making other people hold you accountable is a killer time management combo.
For example, I would tell a person to achieve a project by certain time frame, and if I don’t, I would have to pay him a fine (100$ or more). I neither want to disappoint the person nor pay the money, so I work at full throttle.
This is a strange secret that seems to be true not only for productivity but also for happiness – whenever you do something for other people, you work harder and more passionately than you would work for yourself. I think it’s because we are used to disappointing ourselves, but we HATE to disappoint others.
Thanks a lot, Mars!