“When you make music or write or create, it’s really your job to have mind-blowing, irresponsible, condomless sex with whatever idea it is you’re writing about at the time. ”
― Lady Gaga
And that creative process cannot be rushed… or condensed into 1 hour or even 90 minute blocks. It doesn’t follow an agenda, which I would know because my last 3 planners were all blank after January. Every year, I promised myself to “get organized” and use my planner, but it wasn’t until this year that I figured out why I could never make a planner work.
Around the time when I was building PressFixer, a friend told me about The Makers Schedule. It’s one of those underground cult favourite opinion pieces like Kevin Kelly’s 1000 true fans (a must read if you haven’t).
Written in 2009, the Makers Schedule post helped me to understand why I wasn’t growing my past businesses at the rate I wanted to and why each day seemed unproductive, even though it was completely packed with meetings and to do lists. I’m sure that for a fellow creative, it will also bring clarity to you.
The big problem was that, by trying to run my life like a manager, I never had enough time to really get into a creative flow. I’ll let Paul Graham, who wrote the original post, explain it…
“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in… [con’td] But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning.”
I used to have 3 – 5 meetings each day, then I’d find myself up all night long working on the projects that didn’t get completed that day. It was the reason I couldn’t sleep at night and why I eventually just felt like quitting all together.
After reading the Maker’s Schedule article, I immediately changed my calendar to only allow meetings in the evening, near the end of my work days. That means that from the time I wake up, I’m free to be creative until 4 or 5pm each day.
Having those 6- 8 hour blocks of uninterrupted productivity has been a game changer. It’s not a perfect practice yet, but just following this for even 2 days a week will move your business forward in the right direction.
I’m sure your next question is How do you find the time when there’s already so much to do in a day? I’m going to cover that next time.