SSWS aka Sustainable Study & Work Success


I just read an insightful article by Cal Newport on

And I can tell you: I care about my happiness.

I study because it makes me happy, I work hard because I love my subjects and that love drives me to improve myself as a person, as a thinker, and as a freelancer.

But the most important thing of all is that I study because I love studying. Because I enjoy pushing my minds into exploration mode, I adore to feel close to the resolution of a problem, or to the discovery of a tiny, tiny new angle that may make my work and personal life (and others’) better.

To me, that’s success.

But it needs to be sustainable. I can no longer allow myself to burn out, fall into depression, get panic attack and let my mind close gates to learning because it’s hurt and bleeding.

That’s dying. From the inside. It’s an implosion.

The truth is that I do lots of things, both easy and hard things. Not because I care about the number, just because I love them all. I’m an artist, a writer, a singer (but that stays as a hobby), a SEO, a web designer, an addicted blogger (and – LOL – a domainer), a (potential) computer scientist, a mathematics lover, a geek, a nerd. I’m a crazy eclectic, yes.

But I need to improve my focus. That’s a skill that I nearly lost from the years of depression and nervous breakdown (or burn out, call it the way you want, it’s the same). I need my brain cells to undergo therapy to regain focus.

Right now, my concentration is optimal. Ideas flow well, this post has a logical structure, I’m happy, energetic and focused. I can study and work no problem. Right now, I’m efficient.

But distractions still sidetrack me. It’s my family, for the most; and then my backache and headache. I get those when people around me talk and talk and talk. That hurts my time management, although I can easily push top priorities up and up again if I need to.

I just don’t want to end the day with an empty mind and a drained body. Not even enough to recharge by watching a good Star Trek episode on DVD.

Really, I need to improve my SSWS — aka, Sustainable Study & Work Success. That’s a fun name, I know, but it follows from the ideas I got from Cal.

I know why I’m studying, I know how to do it, but my brain gets bombarded from the outside (my family and the noisy environment) and from the inside (anxiety, tiredness, pressures).

I need to make my study and work smarter, more sustainable. How? I’m gonna brainstorm that.

Some things need to be worked out. For the sake of my own health.

Particularly, I need to stop working ’till late night or rush work when I’m close to a non-postponable deadline.

I try already to “do less, do it better“, as Cal Newport suggests. I find that, on some days, focusing on one-subject (study) and one-client (work) helps improve my focus and be more efficient under all aspects. I just can’t seem to do it often enough. There are still days all things pile up and family distractions will add further load on it all.

One way to stop this is not to add anything more on my to-do-list until most of the things are done. Got new orders? Tell my clients I’m booked until a certain date. Got enchanted by a new course? Bookmark it and wait until current courses are complete.

I need to give my mind a little rest in between things. 30 minutes breaks. Give yourself breaks, Luana.

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