A while back I agreed to do something that’s been making me a little crazy. Earlier this week, I worked through a 5-step plan that helped me fight the panic. Yesterday I outlined a doable plan for meeting my goal. I know what I need to get done. Now I just need to make sure I stay at my most productive until I meet this goal. Here’s what I know I have to do.
- Set Intentional Limits. My normal strategy would be to work on this project every waking hour (and most of the sleeping ones) until the deadline. Picture my fingers bleeding on the thread and frozen pizza for supper every night. It works, but frankly I’m tired of this approach. This time, I’m setting a limit on the hours I’ll spend on this project each day, and taking one day a week where I don’t touch this work. At all.
- Permission To Play. Up to now, I’ve had Christmas gifts to work on in the evenings. Here’s how I plan to get around #1 now: When I’ve exhausted my time budget, I give myself permission to play for a couple of hours in the evening on stuff that may be related to the work I’m doing to meet my goal but not earmarked for any outcome. If a play piece turns out better than the “real thing,” I can substitute. But that’s not my intention. I just need to know I have an outlet for any wild ideas that crop up as I’m working.
- Warm Up Each Morning. I’ve set aside 15 minutes each morning for creativity exercises to get me revved up and ready to be productive. I’m posting some of these at my other blog, Compost and Creativity.
- Unplug. To meet this goal, my hands need to stay busy. But most things are worked out in my head. I need to be able to hear the voices (please don’t send the guys in the white coats to get me). So for at least part of every day, I have to turn off the CDs, the radio and the MP3 player, ignore the phone, stay away from the computer. I need to be paying attention.
- Go To Bed. I have a reasonable plan for meeting my goals that can be achieved in the time available. I’ll be more productive if I’m rested. I’ll be less crabby if I’m rested. I might even be more realistic in my critiques if I’m rested.
That’s it. I’m calmer, I have a master plan that’s doable, and a productivity plan to guide me through the days ahead. I’m back to work after my holiday stall, feeling much better about the way this year is ending, and excited about moving ahead. OK, so I broke #1 last night — but I’m really happy with the way the piece is shaping up!
I hope the New Year brings you wonderful adventures and challenges you enjoy. Will you share how you plan to stay productive to meet those challenges? Just hit the comment button.