Tag Archives: Work

How To Start Your Creative Work

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” We don’t tell ourselves, ‘I’m never going to write my symphony.’ Instead we say, ‘I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.'” – The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

You told yourself all week that you would have time this weekend to work on that project. Now it’s Saturday morning, you actually have the time to work, but instead you watch Netflix in bed and hate yourself for wasting four hours. Now it’s 1 in the afternoon and you’re not sure if you should take a nap or eat lunch. The solution is momentum. Here are some ways to jump-start your creative work and keep your momentum building:

1. Write Down What’s In Your Head – When you have a few things you want to do, but don’t know where to start, grab a piece of scrap paper or a note card (always have these within arms reach) and write down what you want to do. Accept that you will not complete most or possibly any of these things today. Next, ask yourself, “what’s the most uncomfortable project? What’s the hardest? What are you convinced you won’t be able to do?”

2. Set a timer for 10 minutes – and start working on the uncomfortable project. Too long? Try five minutes. Once you start, you’ll figure the initial roadblocks and by the time the timer ends you’ll probably want to keep working.

3. Block Junk Food Websites – If your work involves anything online, accept that you’re vulnerable to distraction and indulgence and block the junk food sites. You know what I’m talking about. Remove the same sites from the bookmarks bar and use one of these plugins to block them: Chrome- Website Blocker, Safari – Mindful Browsing.

4. Turn Your Phone Off (Silent or Do Not Disturb Don’t Count) – When your phone and internet and Vine videos are seconds away, it’s too easy to get distracted. When you’re phone is off, you can’t rationalize turning it back on to check it for two seconds only to turn it back off again.

5. There Is No Perfect Time To Work – Start working for 10 minutes and see what happens.  “I’m not in the zone” “I need coffee” “I’m expecting a call and I don’t want to get in the zone and be interrupted.” “I need to exercise soon and don’t want to start.” Rationalizations like these are nasty and really hard for everyone to beat. Accept that they will never disappear and that you can only muscle through as they arise. If you need coffee, get some coffee and get to work.

6. Celebrate Victories – Finish the 10 minutes? Nice job, you’re gaining momentum. 10 minutes is better than doing nothing, and it’s way better than most people. 10 minutes a day will be felt after a year.

Approach these hard projects with a “death by a thousand cuts” mentality. There is no epiphany where it all makes sense. It’s about putting little pieces of work together to build toward accomplishment. The hard part is getting started. Sit down and see what you’re capable of.

 

Going Harder

When you’re comfortable, feeling good about what you’re doing, laughing to yourself at how lucky and amazing your life is, that’s awesome. It also means you need to work harder. When you’re stressed, pressed for something, and feel like you’ve slipped up or failed, you can get the fire burning  under you and easily to get back on track. When you’re on your game and feeling good, that’s when you’ll start to slip. Your ego tells you that you’re smart, you’re doing it right, you made it! But it’s wrong, that’s The Resistance. Push harder now, because you’re going to fall again, and if you’re not always moving forward, you’ll fall harder.

This is how I feel now. I moved to San Diego six weeks ago (more on why later) and it’s not easy place to do hard work. It’s 75 and sunny everyday and I’m always within 20 minutes of the beach.  I just start laughing to myself at how ridiculous it all is. It was my plan to come to California after I graduated college. But it’s so much better than I expected. I know the east coast is starting to bundle up for winter, and it was an unseasonable 85 today. I am laughing at how crazy the ways things have worked out. I am working in the exact environment (more on that later) I wanted with an all-star team, and we’re working for a mission that I actually believe it. I am emotionally attached moral fibers of the company. Even as I’m typing this I am fucking laughing at how ridiculous it is. Still, I know the hard shit will come soon. But I’ll just surf off the stress on the weekends.