Once in a while, one of Seth Godin’s daily missives sticks in my mind, such as his idea of focusing on creating assets. That’s how I understood his post The Daily.

He focused on encouraging a daily habit of creating an asset, but I zeroed in on the very idea of creating assets. Godin published it on September 28, when I was still very much in the throes of recovering from hip surgery. I had to be very judicious how I spent the little time I could be up and doing something. Not that we shouldn’t always be judicious about how we spend our time, but that fact is that most of us aren’t. So it’s been helpful to have Seth’s premise in my mind: Was I creating assets? Or was I wasting precious time and energy on busy work? And what is an asset? According to Godin,

“an asset is something that creates another bit of intellectual property that belongs to you.”

In my case, it means: Am I writing something that will be an asset? An article that will appear and reappear in an online magazine? Or a print magazine? Am I taking photos that I can use again and again for my blog posts, my articles, even family photo albums? Am I writing another chapter in a book that will one day sell on amazon and enrich other people’s lives? And my life, for that matter? I can’t even begin to tell you how many wonderful connections and friendships have come from publishing my book (see 6 Things that Will Surprise You about Publishing a Book). Ultimately it boils down to:

Am I creating something?

That could also mean knitting a shawl while watching TV…

Right around that time that the concept of creating assets took root in my head, an email from an editor at Stampington landed in my inbox: They were putting together the cozy issue, a Bella Grace special edition on hygge, and they wanted to include my article “A Hot Chocolate Party in the Cold,” published in a previous Bella Grace. Was I OK with that? And could I edit it slightly to emphasize the cozy aspects of the story? Of course I could! Here, then, was the epitome of an asset I had created many years ago: I had made an essay from one of my family’s rituals, including a rather cold photo shoot on our porch.

While I was out of commission and not producing any new writing, this article, this asset, was still working for me.

Of course it is hard to always be productive, i.e. to put creating an asset first. But alas, so many hours, days even, can be frittered away answering emails, doing paperwork, running errands. Not that all those things don’t need to be done, but we shouldn’t put them first.

Creating assets also means that, once in a while, you can put your feet up because they will keep working for you.

PS: Just in time for winter and snugly indoor days, you’ll find the cozy issue in Barnes & Noble stores, or online.