Innovating Through Artistry

Posts Tagged ‘time’

How Much is Too Much?

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton on November 7, 2009 at 4:10 am

I got into an argument yesterday with one of my fellow Blue Damen team members about how many projects we should be scheduling for next year. We didn’t really resolve things straight out,  but it did get me thinking about where the line is between doing enough and doing too much.

The first part of this argument is where do you draw the line between projects from your personal life vs projects from your professional life? For instance, this coming year I will be planning a wedding. A wedding is a Big Deal that will take up a lot of time and resources. In fact producing a film and producing a wedding involve largely the same resources and the same kind of time commitment. The only difference is that a wedding is a personal project while a film is a professional project.

The problem is time. As C.S. Lewis says:  ” The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is. ”  There is only so much time in the day and only so many days in a year. Do I choose to commit that time to a personal project or to a professional one? If I choose to only work on a personal project such as a wedding I lose my professional momentum from having films in production or in the festival circuit. On the other hand, if I commit myself entirely to a film and neglect my personal life then who am I but a sum of my work?

Is it really too much to ask to have both? Are personal projects and professional projects mutually exclusive? At what point do you begin to sacrifice one for the other?  I don’t have answers for these questions. I would like to think that the line between professional and personal is not as distinct as we like to think that it is. I would like to think that my profession is part of who I am personally, not just something that I do during the 9 to 5. I would like to believe that my personal life is equally important to my professional work as the films I produce.

So how much is too much? To work in a creative industry is to reach deep down inside your personal self and to develop something expressive and innovative and sincere through hard work and collaboration.  To separate the personal from the professional is what makes work overwhelming.

Putting the Pro in Procrastination

In Author: Gwydhar Bratton on August 22, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Step 1. Make a to do list

Break big projects into little tasks and include some dumb items like “clear off work space” and “gather materials” so that you have some things that you can be sure to accomplish in one day. The point of this step is to show exactly what needs to be done and to give a sense of how much progress is made along the way.

Step 2. Set a time limit.

On bigger tasks that are going to take up several hours, rather than trying to do it all at once and losing focus, set a time limit for how long you will work on it. An hour is a good measure- long enough to accomplish something but not so long that you’ll pass out from hunger. The point of this step is to give yourself a goal unrelated to the project to help slog through the times when you feel like you’re not making much progress.

Step 3. Get started right now.

Not after dinner, not after a TV show, not once the sun goes down. Get started right now. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It isn’t hard, you just have to do it. Be like Nike: Just do it.

Step 4. Don’t move your butt from your seat until time is up.

If you’re prone to procrastinating you’ll start work and begin to feel hungry. Or sleepy. Or like it is really important to alphabetize those DVD’s. That’s fine. The best way to fight the urge to procrastinate is to put it off. You can have a snack in an hour- you won’t die of hunger. You can take a nap when the clock says 6:00- you can stay awake that long. You can alphabetize those DVD’s fifteen minutes from now when you’re done working. (Be sure to go to the bathroom before getting started.) The point of this step is to keep the urge to procrastinate from becoming overwealming. Just like dieting; the more you tell yourself to avoid donuts the more you want one, but if you tell yourself you can have a donut in 15 minutes you can usually wait that long.

Step 5. When time is up, set a time limit for how long your break will be.

Ok you’ve worked for an hour. You deserve a break and you should take one- but figure out how long it is going to be and stick with it. 15 minutes for a snack? 20 minutes for a power nap? A quick half hour television show? Fine. Set a timer and put it WAAAAAY across the room so that you have to get up to turn it off. And while you’re up, now is the time to get back to your To Do list.

Step 6. Take a break.

All work and no play make everyone want to procrastinate. Take a break and don’t fill it up with work. In fact, put “take a break” on your to do list so you can cross it off. Getting away from the work helps you feel refreshed when you get back to it. The point of this step is to give in a little bit to those urges that otherwise cause you to procrastinate: eating/sleeping/relaxing.

Repeat as necessary.