What My Process Looks Like These Days
"When overwhelmed, fall back upon this principle: Prioritize and Execute." -Extreme Ownership
I would not be able to get anything done well if I didn't write things down. I keep a schedule book, a routine with an order of tasks and goals, and lists of ideas, projects, and to-dos...
Some of this is old hat and ingrained habit for me. I've been writing things down and making lists for years. But other parts are new; I just recently was inspired by a couple of wonderful music mentors and friends to create more of a routine and stick to it. Because if we don't make time for what we want to accomplish, that time will never come. If we don't carve out space in our lives for all the things that are important to us, lots of them will fall through the cracks.
I was tired of things falling through the cracks, and I was tired of feeling overwhelmed (and unmotivated or directionless with my time) often. This is helping SO MUCH. I LOVE my job and my life, I just needed a little more structure. Now I prioritize... and - amazingly! - the execution is following! I keep my plans, brilliant ideas (along with if-y ideas), and goals in front of me everyday and choose them, in order, one at a time, and then I start! The schedule and process is flexible and sometimes goes very differently than planned, but it's FUN! And rewarding. It's working!
I'm really excited. Being happy and engaged with our lives is a great first step. Working hard and doing our best to build something good. Trying, failing, trying again. Listening to that Voice inside who we call Creativity; sometimes she's small, quiet, and persistent, and sometimes she's so loud, deafening, and immediate that we can barely contain ourselves.
Today, I'm thankful. I'm alive and passionate, and my work and art is all going so much more smoothly now that it's gotten a rejuvenating breath of life in the form of practical tools. Abstract, nonspecific, far-away goals don't really do anything for me. I'm learning I like processes and practical action. Practicality, productivity, and dreams being merged is definitely something I'm SO EXCITED about. I'm really grateful to have friends and teachers in my life who share these things with me.
Now, in the interest of passing along what's working for me - though the same methods won't be the ticket for everyone - find what you really love and really want more of, and prioritize your time realistically to make it happen. Pick a time once a day or once a week, whatever it takes, and do the next step. Realize some things are constant repeats (Examples for me: networking and lesson planning); we'll do them over and over, and that doesn't mean we aren't getting anywhere. That just means there's always more to do, which is a great sign! Your work isn't stagnant or dead if you always have repeat tasks, people to talk to, ways to keep moving. And it helps me a lot to have everything on paper, in front of me. Visual. It was too overwhelming for too long to have so many ideas and chores but no clear definition of structure for HOW and WHEN to do them. However, different methods click for each different individual. Not everybody likes lists and working off paper. I'm currently working more smoothly because I found a specific strategy that clicks for me. The goal here is just to find and create a balance in your life, whatever that looks like for you, and however you get there best.
Chuck Close said,
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
Process! Prioritize and Execute.
Best of luck! So much love and good creation vibes to you!