But is it a self-improvement kick if you're always on it?
Are you a nerd for productivity stuff? Then this post is for you! I'm in a really lucky place right now where I can't complain about not having enough time. (I mean... I could because is there ever really enough time?) Compared to past work/life balancing routines I've managed, that's just not my primary challenge right now. My primary challenge instead is making the most out of my time and setting goals that are both ambitious and achievable. (Why yes, I am a fan of career coaching and goal setting, thank you!)
I'm juggling a few different projects at various stages. It's hard to switch gears. It's also hard for me to do more than about three hours of actual, productive writing in a day. My afternoons tend to be sleepier and less focused than my mornings, and that's the part of the day where I struggle the most. Soooo... I'm trying a slight tweak on how I plan my days! I am separating the day into sections.
The first one: writing time. This can consist of writing actual pages, script revisions, outline/treatment work, or researching (for writing projects only!). I do this first thing. I'm trying to avoid getting distracted by the shiny object of other creative work that is also important but isn't actually writing. Writing is the hardest thing for me, and it takes the most energy and focus. That's why I put it first.
Then, my afternoons are divided between directing and producing time. These can blur together a little bit more. This is anything from doing work on and corresponding about Scattering Jake, fellowship/grant applications, studying (I've been enjoying my Masterclass membership and am happy to chat about that with anyone else who watches them!), pre-production work, notes on short film projects I'm directing, emails, research (for directing/producing projects only!), website blog posts (like this!), and all of that fun stuff. It's important, but it doesn't require the same level of mental sharpness that I need for my writing time.
The idea here is that while I feel anxious about not writing more than those three or so hours, I'm setting a more realistic gameplan based on how I actually function as a human. I'm acknowledging my energy and focus limitations and building around them rather than trying to live in an imaginary world where I can churn out brilliant pages all day every day only to be frustrated and disappointed when I fail to live up to that dream. Also, I'm making sure that I'm giving the right amount of attention to the different projects I'm balancing. The goal is to be making progress on important work. It's just compartmentalized a little more. So during writing time, I have permission to ignore my emails. During producing time, I have permission not to worry about figuring out the next scene of a new script.
We'll see how this plan works out. If you wanna nerd out with me and share your best practices with your creative work, I'd love to hear! (Also if you want some time/energy management recommendations, I really loved reading The Power of Full Engagement a few years ago.) The important thing I try to remember with any of these self-improvement kicks is to always approach them with the right amount of self-forgiveness and love. Some days, the plan just won't work out (like yesterday, when my iPhone died, and I had to go get it replaced at the Apple Store). Being flexible is as important as having a strong goal.
Here are my other quick updates... Scattering Jake is a semi-finalist in the PAGE Awards! I'm super grateful to the team there for honoring the script at this level. Also, I wrote a short play! I'll share more about that closer to when it will be performed in a few weeks. It was a super fun exercise for what should be a really cool show. So stay tuned for more on that!