08/02/2015 um 18:08

(Self-)Organization for creative people – Sticking with long-term projects

Abgelegt unter: Distracted by the Shiny
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Last week I spoke about the basics of self-organization, namely: Getting a planner and chosing a system that works for you. Today I want to address another topic that people who suffer from “Distracted by the Shiny”-Syndrome struggle with: Long-term projects.

I’m not going to lie, breaking down a complex thing into manageable tasks, and then sticking with it, is absolutely not my forte. Not when there are a gazillion other things vying for my attention that look like so much more fun! I also like instant gratification, that’s also something that long-term projects are frustratingly scarce with. So. How to do it?

Make a plan!

Ha, that’s what planners are there for, aren’t they? Take your nifty little brain dump thingy and pencil in when you want to do what. Maybe you need deadlines to get you going, maybe you’re on a tight schedule because of other commitments… do what works, and if it doesn’t – try something else. I learned that at any given time, I won’t be able to do more than one big thing of every main block (Book, House, Life) during the week. So if I want to write a 1000 words a week, I probably won’t work on anything else in the Book-Section that requires a lot of brain activity. I still scribble down three things every week.

Tiny steps!

Problem with being a creative perfectionist: You want to do it right, and that means in one go. Long-term projects have it in the name that they aren’t done in one go. It took me a very long time to learn that tiny steps lead to the finish line too. Sometimes as little as 10 minutes per day. But it works, and it doesn’t exhaust you and you can feel accomplished because you worked on the project.

Be flexible

No matter how intently you plan, life likes to throw you a curveball. Maybe your dayjob sucked and you have no energy left. You got sick. The dog puked on the carpet. That is okay. Things like this happen. Take your planner and see where you can re-schedule things. Just don’t get frustrated because things didn’t work out the way you planned them. Sometimes you just need a creative break.

Celebrate the milestones

Every 10.000 words or so I do a little celebratory dance. Squee on Twitter. Get myself a drink. Because I’m 10.000 words closer to the finish line. You should too. Admire your progress. You’ve come so far, that’s amazing! Be proud of yourself.

And with that I go back to my own long-term project. Happy trucking along!

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