A Mind On ProductivityPosted on September 9, 2012
I’m rather embarrassed that I’ve just let my blog lie dormant for all this time. Part of the reason is that I’ve been VERY busy with work and the other part of it is… well, I haven’t been the greatest time manager lately. Most of this year has been an experiment with what I call “Running With The Muse”. It involves only setting “hard appointments” on my calendar and letting the rest of my day be completely liquid. This method has been great for allowing me to work according to inspiration, but I find (more often than not) that inspiration usually comes in the form of desperation. I have spent a ton of my time this year playing “Beat The Deadline”, sometimes working for days without sleep to finish a project in that last chunk of time just before a project’s Due Date. That sort of lifestyle can (and has) become exhausting.
On the Flipside, I had a period of time where I micro-managed every moment of my day (including what time I’d take a shower, practice drums, or eat lunch). While I like the amount of productivity I can get out of that sort of structure, the artist side of me finds it VERY limiting. That sort of anal retentiveness leaves very little room for improvisation. And, as you know, my life as a musician and music producer lives and dies on the creativity found inside of improvisation.
A significant trait I possess (that can be either limiting or totally freeing) is that I have an “All-Or-Nothing” mentality. When I do something… ANYTHING, I’m into it 500%. I don’t really have a throttle to help me find a “sweet spot” for any activity. When I decided to start watching Mad Men two weeks ago, I took every available minute to watch the show on Netflix (including ditching sleep on many occasions). [NOTE: I am now 2 episodes away from completing Seasons 1-4] When I decide to be a gym rat, I will drop 20 lbs in the first month or two and work out as if I’m attending church [read: religiously]. When I stop going to the gym, those 20 lbs come right back and I gorge myself on Pistachio Almond ice cream and Frontera’s queso dip.
When I moved my home office from one side of the house to the other, everything else in my life stopped while I sorted through piles of things in my office, organized what I would keep, set aside what would get given away or tossed, painted the new office, set up my video/podcast studio, wired up all of the technology, and totally reset my workspace all in a week-long series of 22 hour days.
That sort of ‘all-or-nothing’ methodology is both a blessing and a curse. For the artistic side of me, it IS the reason why I get to do this sort of creative work for my career. It is the reason why I’ve progressively gotten better at what I do each year for more than 25 years. The best recordings I’ve made have come from locking myself away and shutting out the world while I work. The most progress I’ve made in any of my disciplines has happened when I shirked other responsibilities and concentrated on ONE thing mono-maniacally. But is also the reason why some people have to wait on me to get around to them and their priorities.
So, in the spirit of “All-Or-Nothing”, I’m trying to shunt all of my energy toward moderation. 50% structure and 50% of my “Running With The Muse”. A mix of productivity AND creativity thru a combination of organization and improvisation. And to start it off, here’s a great article I read today on becoming more productive from Robin Sharma: “21 Tips to Become the Most Productive Person You Know“
Categories: Personal Development