Why chocolate/vanilla swirl is killing your productivity and creativity

My oomph is a precious resource! I treat it as such by unswirling all my chocolate/vanilla swirls.

If that didn’t make any sense to you, then let’s unpack it:

Oomph: Decision-making ability.
Chocolate: A task that requires oomph.
Vanilla: A task that doesn’t require oomph.

For example:

Teaching is chocolate/vanilla swirl

Teaching is chocolate/vanilla swirl, so I separate it out into:

  • Decide what to teach and create an outline (chocolate)
  • Show up and teach the class from the outline (vanilla)

Podcasting is chocolate/vanilla swirl

Podcasting is also chocolate/vanilla swirl. I separate it out into:

  • Decide who to invite and decide on a topic. Invite them. (chocolate)
  • Show up and record the podcast with that guest on that topic. (vanilla)

Writing is chocolate/vanilla swirl

Writing is chocolate/vanilla swirl… actually, it’s chocolate/chocolate/vanilla/chocolate swirl. I separate it out into:

  • Create a list of ideas of what to write about. (chocolate)
  • Pick one. (chocolate)
  • Write drunk. (vanilla)
  • Edit sober. (chocolate)

I’m quoting Peter De Vries (not Ernest Hemingway) on the “Write drunk, edit sober” bit – what I mean by “write drunk” is to write without revising, write without deciding what to leave in or what to leave out. To write NaNoWriMo style.

Aside: This is how NaNoWriMo works – by putting the oomphiest bits beforehand (deciding on characters and outline in October) and afterward (“December is for editing”), November is freed up from a lot of progress-blocking decision-making.

This is why writing an outline can help so much – it separates the chocolate into one big bite, instead of having annoying little chocolate chips getting in the way of your vanilla flow

Remember Einstein’s Theory of Chocolativity

What’s chocolate or vanilla for you might be different than what’s chocolate or vanilla for me. A task that takes a lot of oomph for me might come easily and oomphlessly to you. What’s important is to know yourself and accept what’s true for you. Pretending that something is vanilla when it’s actually chocolate for you will only lead you to exhaustion.

What’s your swirl?

What’s a chocolate/vanilla swirl in your work? How could you unswirl it?

Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!


Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.

In other words, I can help you find your path.