“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Gustave Flaubert
[Totally stolen from McGuinness’s resource page on time management! LOVE it.]
I know you all too well.
In fact, I am you.
You’ve had 3 months to write a script for this festival. Now you have 3 weeks. Your creative juices have needed all that time to start flowing, right?
O, Filmmaker. Just because you’re creative, doesn’t mean good time management precludes you. Here are 5 Tips to get your time management skills in order, and a few more resources to get your productivity in check.
ONE: Level with yourself.
The ex-educator in me feels compelled to attack this topic with a pre-assessment.
In order to know what YOU (and I) have to do to stop wasting YOUR (and my own) time, we need to know where you (we) presently fall in the creative time management continuum.
What good is a prescription if we have no diagnosis? So! Lucky for both of us, someone already invented such a tool!
Courtesy of Copyblogger.com, here’s a special link to find out if you are, indeed, a time waster. Click HERE to learn your fate.
TWO: Track your time.
Don’t make any rash attempts to change your behavior just yet. Take a few days (3 max) to do things just as you’ve always done them, but keep a log of how you spend your waking—and sleeping—hours.
Mind Tools created a stress management document just for this purpose. Use their Excel sheet or—if you’re digitally inclined—use your smart phone calendar in reverse as you go throughout your day. Track what you do when you do it, and how much time you’re giving away. Stop Justin Timberlake-ing.
THREE: Face the facts.
Believe it or not, this is not hardly as dreadful as those impossible New Year’s Resolutions you’re about to make.
When the 3 days of self-reflection are done, take a look at what time management habits you’ve unconsciously developed.
Highlight those time-stealing patterns (i.e. 2-hour Words with Friends sesh). The idea here isn’t to beat yourself up nor is it to necessarily change the routine—but the behavior.
You want to find out why you’re more naturally inclined and motivated to watch Hulu around 11AM and why that scenario has become a ritual for you. This step yields great clues about when your creativity is at its peak, and how you can maximize that time when it comes.
Maybe, those extended WWF sessions are an indication that you need to problem solve or collaborate during that time. Maybe that 11AM private viewing party is a perfect time for you to edit footage. As you develop a more effective daily routine, you may opt to set aside moments throughout your day for more PRODUCTIVE purposes.
FOUR: Establish a routine.
Courtesy of Copyblogger.com, Business Balls has great starting tips for drafting a daily schedule that works for you. See it here.
As you set goals for your time, be sure to track EVERY minute, including when you plan to eat, sleep, socialize, and e-mail. Failure to do so sets you up for failure. Why? Because then you’re new time wasters will be snacking, sleeping, socializing…
And you’ll blame the world for sharing such awful time management resources…
FIVE: Give your creativity room to breathe. Literally.
According to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Study, we spend a lot of our time getting distracted. On average, if something or someone doesn’t interrupt our focused activity, we fill in to distract ourselves (with FB, Twitter, texting, eating, etc) at least every 12 minutes.
Columbia recommends, we reduce our distractions by getting inventive.
Laundry rooms were Stephen King’s style. I’ll admit…bathrooms are my style. Find yours, and then turn your signals off: Wifi, cellular, GPS—all of it. Keep whatever stimuli you (claim) you need to a bare and unplugged minimum, and Columbia recommends a very anti-Pomodoro approach: set aside 90-minute blocks if you’re serious about getting your creative work done.
Check out these links for more time management awesomeness: