Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How I focus on long term goals.

Beginning a creative project can be a difficult task. Even harder than starting, is continuing your work until completion. A book can take months to write, and many drafts get shredded in the process. Videos take hours of sitting in front of editing software every day. Musical creations take thousands of hours of relentless practice and revision. Art takes considerable effort and patience to master.

I've seen many of my friends start projects that never end. Sometimes I think they don't want them to. I've also seen projects that abruptly stop after several days of committed effort.

The real trick behind getting anything made, is that no matter the mood, there is a designated time that they work every single day. Quality is desired, but not a need for workloads like this. Enough production of creative material will eventually spin out something worthwhile. I sometimes find my favorite scenes in writing when I've gone off the deep end of exhaustion and am just trying to finish something. I lose the clever words and fancy language that I focus so hard on under normal conditions and just let thoughts race onto the paper.

A dedicated project is something that should consume your time.


A few things keep me working on something every day.

Develop a morning ritual.


Mine involves coffee and video games for an hour. I try to never go past that hour, and for me it's almost a mental workout letting myself indulge in something I enjoy so much and then separating myself from it willfully. Some days I just watch other people play video games and that is enough. The tricky part is knowing what I'm capable of stopping after that hour. Every person has limitations and addictions that can get in the way. The point I'm trying to make is, I don't work immediately, I start the day with something that will make me happy.

Identify where your willpower will break, and plan for that while it is strong.


I know that after I finish the immediate thought on the pages or paragraphs that I am writing, I will instantly open a web browser if it is available. So while my willpower is strong, I disable the internet, knowing that in the next hour there will be a moment where I go back to that distraction. It's alright to enjoy a break every hour or two, but make sure it is a planned moment that you control. Which brings me to my final thought on focus.


When you feel overwhelmed, choose to worry about one singular problem and ignore all the others.



Multitasking is an illusion. I'm not saying, don't plan ahead. Planning is critical to effectively using the time we have every day. What I'm saying, is the reality is that you can only physically do one task at any given moment. Yes, you may be running out of money and sometime in the next week face eviction, but you still need to wash your clothing. Achieving completion of one small task at a time is often all I have while I'm wrapped up in long term concerns.

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