i want things to happen very quickly, and unfortunately that’s an unrealistic expectation. so, i need to develop systems to ensure that i don’t get ahead of myself. one of those things is making a considered effort to slow down. another is giving myself projects that i can complete very quickly, or in a day. if i divide a project up into these specific chunks of constructions, suddenly i’ll have a big final product at the end.
i always forget this, the fact that what we do with our lives is what we do with our days. routines, then, help dramatically with my ability to finish a huge task. i know i will spend a little time every day, and this gives me comfort and allows me to envision the final project. for example, if i write a book, i need to know that i will write 600 words a day, and i need to know that i will have time every day to do that specific thing.
right now, i lack direction because i don’t clearly see my end goal. so i am gathering information and trying to build up my plan. it is loose, there are a ton of tangents, but i know that if i make at least one thing today, i’ll be that much closer to having a fully fleshed out final project a year from now.
people are different, and the way people work varies as a result. i am a morning person, my girlfriend is a night owl. our productivity levels heavily depend on the differences in our personalities, upbringing, and values.
i’ve noticed that i get a lot of my writing done in the morning. in the evening, after 6pm, it is incredibly difficult for me to write. however, it is a great time to study. studying requires long instances of uninterrupted silence, which is more easily found when the day is done.
on the bus, i can get very little done. but, this is when i either listen to a podcast or a playlist. i can scroll through twitter and instagram, or take a moment to just think. the best part is identifying this window (and others) in a mindful way.
by identifying my morning hours as “office time”, evening hours as “study blocks”, and bus time as “focused play”, i now can sort my to do lists into the scheduling slot that works. i know that if i need to research health insurance plans, i might get the most out of it if it do it in the evening. if i need to write an e-mail to a client, i will do it in the morning when i’m writing anyway.
your system may be different from mine, but identifying the cycles of your work allows you to name them, and to categorize the tasks you can reasonably get done. and this is a kind of superpower.
a system is a set of working parts. you are part of many systems, and you also have systems in place. your job is a system that uses your skills and pays you for it. you eating schedule is a system of keeping you nourished. basically, if there is any kind of process with multiple factors involved, it’s a kind of system. and this is thrilling, because of how many systems are in play at any given time.
i often think about creative systems. my problem is that i don’t have a lot of time to make the at that i’d like to make. i have to factor in schedule, audience, energy, and the presence of my muse. some things i can control, some things i can’t, and my ability to produce good work depends on the sustainability of my system.
currently i meet once a week with my friend jaron to record video and podcast interviews. we are both free on sundays, our interview subjects are free on sundays, and we have all the equipment to make it work. it is not a problem to meet weekly, since post-production time is so minimal. there is no friction at all in the process of producing this content, and thus it is a good system.
i don’t always finish writing books because i lose steam. this can also be viewed as a system problem. either i wasn’t motivated enough, didn’t have enough research, or didn’t outline enough time to sit down and actually write. national novel writing month (november) is a system that exists online, geared towards motivating writers to finish their book through social accountability and gamification. it’s a system that produces a manuscript, even if it’s terrible.
for you, i encourage you to write out systems that currently exist in your orbit, and if there are any ways you can tweak or refine them to better suit your goals. even better, can you invent a system of work that maximizes your creativity, your profits, or your happiness?