Oh no! I gave away the secret to productivity in the title of this article! That’s entirely too productive. Now you don’t even have to read this mess of words and things that portion out words into convenient pieces. Punctuation, I guess. Spaces are in there too. Like there. And here.
And there. Okay, enough sentence fragments. The title of this article is a bit vague, but there is a purpose behind it. You see, there are numerous books dedicated to teaching the “keys to productivity.” Actually, hold on a second. Just need to do this one thing.
Sorry. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making stuff up. Searched Amazon for “keys to productivity” and received a hog’s head full of results. Alright, now that we know I’m not pulling this “numerous” statement out of thin air (or that it was pulled out of thin air, but later verified), let’s continue.
Where were we? Numerous books. Okay, on we go. People want to literally sell you their ideas on how to be productive. They have tricks and tips and all sorts of ways to “hack” your brain. They have the answer. Hell, they have the “key!” They’re going to walk up to your front door head and unlock your mind house. Sure, some of the ideas in these books work. But here’s the thing. You’re unique.
Hold on there Snowflake, don’t get too excited. If I gave you a warm fuzzy, it was purely by accident. I really meant to say that everyone is different. There aren’t any cookie cutter rules to ensuring productivity in everyone. I should clarify that I’m speaking specifically of creative productivity. If you want to garden, just get off the couch and quit watching reruns of The Nanny. They weren’t very good the first time around.
How do creative people produce? Some lock themselves into an attic, away from all distractions, until inspiration strikes. Some designate 4am to 7am, before their household beings to stir, as their creative time. Some wait for inspiration to strike while driving in cars and taking showers. And the list goes on.
I’m not going to list all the things creative people do. That’s why I said “find what works for you” in the title of this article. See how I got myself out of doing research and citing specific examples? Pretty smart, huh?
Talk to your creative community. Listen to interviews with talented people discussing their craft. Read books by creative people about their creative process. Find out what other people do!
Think of yourself as a bride to be (fellas! now is your chance!) at some else’s wedding. You’re going to take a look at what this couple did and pull out what you like to incorporate into your ceremony. The heavy lifting has already been done for you.
Be careful when comparing yourself to others though. You can aspire to have a 16 piece orchestra. You can aspire to get out of bed at 4am everyday, but it might be too much for you. That isn’t a sign of failure. That’s a sign that you shouldn’t get up at 4am. You need to accept your process, no matter how messed up it seems.
Which leads us to me. Or leads you to me. I’m already here. I find comfort in hearing from creative people who work in the same way that I do. The “I go to a cabin by myself for two weeks until my script is done” people always make me feel like I’m standing still. The people who drink in TV like water and then go out to do amazing work make me feel better.
So, in the hopes of making you feel better (or superior, probably), here are the things I do to find my productivity.
Number one- I take a drive or take a shower. Ideas flow from me in these two situations, and I can’t explain why. It works for me.
Number two- I commit in such a way that I can’t back out. If it is more trouble to talk your way out of a commitment than it is to follow it to completion, you’ll probably complete it.
Number three- I play some video games. Or, less specifically, I wait around until my deadline draws near. Nothing lights a fire under my ass like the time monster.
Are these things I would recommend? Hell no! Except for showers, because of their cleaning benefits. But this process works for me. It’s messy and backwards and cluttered, but it’s how I get things done.
Don’t you feel a little better about yourself? You’re probably a billion times more productive than me, and you might not even have taken a look around to find out what else works for you. What’s a billion times a billion? That’s going to be you with a better process!
And if you’re not a billion times more productive than me, don’t feel to bad. We put out some pretty great stuff, don’t we? We should take a shower together. In separate houses. Without planning it or talking about it. But we’ll know. And don’t give me a knowing nod when you see me. That would be creepy.