The month of February and March this year have been quite slow for me in terms of outputting creative content. I’m taking about work outside of the 9-5 grind. I’ve been feeling tired every evening and very unmotivated when I had time to myself. Most evenings I would just give in to the facebooks and youtubes and next thing I new, it was time to go to sleep.
It’s so easy to just let go and just float down the lazy river of life. To let go of ambitions and goals, and let oneself be drawn into the endless cavern of FB, youtube, netflix and the like. Come home from work, maybe have a glass of wine, a beer or anything else alcoholic to help relax and unwind, have dinner and then feel too tired to start or continue any personal endeavors.
Three things dawned on me (one of which wasn’t a surprise) that made a difference in my mood and snapped me out the the slums.
One was the fact that alcohol will draw me down. After a glass of wine or can of cider, it’s so easy to have another. And even if I had just one, it would not be long until I would feel tired. Not physically fatigued, but mentally drained a little. Not to mention that my sleep would be affected, and in the morning I would feel just a little less rested then when I didn’t have that drink or two the previous night. This was not new, as I had noticed the subtle effect alcohol has on me (the tired part) as well as the subtle effect it has on my sleep during the course of the night.
Second was the realization that I just need to get off my butt and get working regardless of how I feel. Even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. Those 15 minutes add up, and soon there is real progress in my projects.
Third was the decision to only progress on one project at a time. This feel very alien to me, as I would at any one point have multiple projects on the go. I don’t know if this ever actually worked for me, but it it’s impossible to keep track of everything to the level needed to make quick progress. Projects would linger for months which then turned into years, often never finishing. I would look at these projects and not know if I should spend any time on them anymore, and feel bad if I didn’t since I had already invested quite a bit of time already.
Fail fast, fail early. The single tasking concept is not new, but it’s new to me and how I have worked my whole life. I’m not trying ti integrate this singular project mentality. Pick up a project, work on it for 90% of the time and evaluate weekly, and monthly the progress. Get the project done to a level of completion that I can feel good about. Not perfection, just completion. Then move on.
I’m excited about these realizations and I feel a new sense of energy and drive. I can remain excited about what I’m working on, since I no more the a day or two goes by, and details are still fresh in my mind.
Resisting the urge to switch to the next shiniest idea is tough. I don’t abstain from entertaining new ideas, I just do some initial research, and document everything. When the project’s time comes, I should have some pieces already in place.