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5 Productivity Hacks for the Creative Entrepreneur to Get You Over Procrastination FOREVER, so You'll Finally Get Shit Done

5 Productivity Hacks for the Creative Entrepreneur to Get You Over Procrastination FOREVER, so You'll Finally Get Shit Done

 

“Procrastination is like masterbation, at first it feels good, and then you realize you are fu*$ing yourself.”

 

I know us procrastinators all feel like this.  And honestly, it’s totally okay.  What we actually need to understand is why we feel the need to procrastinate on our creative projects so adamantly.  One major problem is there is no deadline for creative fun...unless you want to take your creativity and make a living from it, then you have a problem.

 

Here are my five hacks and some explanation to get you through procrastination FOREVER, so you can finally get your shit done, and into this world!

 

1. Decide on an idea and run with it to the the end.

 

As creatives we have loads of idea’s.  Don’t ever talk yourself into believing that you only have one great idea in you and you’ll never have any more.  Idea’s are endless, this is a symptom of a creative mind.  If you don’t think this is you, it’s not that you aren’t creative, it’s more likely a trust issue.  

 

So with all these great idea’s we hum and haw over which one to put the work into so that we can actually do something with it.  Some of us, do this forever and never get anything done.  I know more creatives that have a bunch of half baked brilliant idea’s that need to be shown some tender love and care and get finished.

 

So now that’s over.  You need to decide on ONE and see it through, and you need to continue to do that until all your exciting idea’s come to life, one at a time.   This is the only way that you can even enter the playing field of being a working creative.  Now take all your genius idea’s, list them 1-10 in order excitement and follow the next 4 hacks.

 

2. Outline your idea, so you know where you’re going.

 

Whether you are a graphic designer, a writer, or a performer.  You have to have a game plan.  Or a path in which is on the way to your destination.  An outline is a great way to create that map.  

 

Take the idea you love, and outline it.  Create all the steps and chapters involved and give a brief description of what that might look like.  

 

This shouldn’t take up a lot of your time and you can work on it as you go if new idea’s for the outline come up.  But outline everything, so when you feel stuck and like you want to quit, you can still look at your outline and take another step forward.  All the rest is fear.  And fear will come up a lot because fear is the glass ceiling that you are trying to break through, when you get close, you press up against it and start feeling like you’re suffocating.  You aren’t, you’re going to break through as long as you keep moving forward.  Onwards and upwards!!  (yup, I did it ;))

 

3. Don’t second guess yourself. Ever.

 

This is what I mean by fear.  When we start down a path that will change our lives for the better, we start to second guess everything.  It’s never just about our work, it’s our lives.  Starting on your creative path isn’t easy, but it’s not hard forever.  You have to finish something, and when we decide to do this, we put our idea on a pedestal, make it mean everything to us, and then second guess everything because what if the idea that was going to change my life, isn’t going to change my life!  What if I pour everything I am into this and it goes nowhere?!  What if no one likes it, cares about it or even wants to LOOK AT IT?!!!

 

These are all the thoughts that you’ll have, and there will be more, but now you will continue on.  You will follow your outline, you will have a daily routine, and you will take everything one step at a time.  These are just thoughts, not based in truth and none of our business right now.   Right now we have to finish our project before we can even know if we’re on the right track.  So don’t second guess yourself, don’t question if this was the right decision, and don’t let these thoughts stop you.  Ever.

 

4. Never look back until you have fully finished.

 

Building on what I just said, these thoughts will feel like they are about to stop you in your tracks.  Don’t let them.  AND don’t ever look at your work until it’s finished.  (This mostly pertains to writing.)  When we start looking at what we have done, we start to judge ourselves so harshly.  So don’t look at it until it’s finished.  Your first draft is your real starting point.  Or your first prototype or experiment or painting.  There always has to be a first before there can be anything amazing.  Nothing brilliant is created, it’s refined.

 

This is because of the ways our minds work.  Our minds work in cliche.  So the first thing that comes out is cliche and that drives us nuts and sends us into a spiral of not good enough.  But you are good enough, because after your first draft you get to go back and clean up all those cliche parts and put YOU into it.  That is why as an actor, you cannot play with the character without memorizing, (in scene/character study) after memorization, you can actually put the character in your own voice.

 

If you look back before it’s finished, most people get so down on themselves that they don’t finish.  So don’t shoot yourself in the foot.  Don’t re-read or re-write or do any kind of clean up until your first draft is done.

 

5. Other people’s opinions matter, but in the end it is your opinion that matters above all else.

 

Putting our finished product into the world can be hard.  And you definitely have to ask the opinions of others so that you can get a clearer picture of the outcome of your vision.  Does it hit or sink in?  Are people getting it?  Who’s getting it and who’s not (ie. figuring out your audience)?  Is it being well received?  Whilst all these things are important (and please put it into the hand of someone you trust before anyone else), you must take everything with a grain of salt.  Everyone has the right to their own opinion, and they will give it to you.  Feedback is a creative exercise. Do you think the feedback will bring value?  Or do you think that person didn’t quite get your vision?  

 

In the end YOU have to love what you put out.  You have to believe in your creativity and your view of this world and how and who it speaks to.  You have to be proud of what you created, everything else is for the birds.  So listen to your heart, and if someone has a great idea that inspires you to tweak or change something in your project, humbly thank them. It’s all good. But make sure you you don’t compromise to make anything that you’re not happy with, because you have to show up the next day.  So you have to be proud of yourself, no one else’s thoughts or opinions matter.

 

Much love,

 

Kat Karpoff

 

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How to Learn When Learning Is Hard

You don’t know how to do something?  Learn.  And quit whining about it.  Everyone has to do it.  If this sounds harsh, I’m sorry.  Think of your best friend saying it to you, because no matter how harsh something your BFF says, you know it comes from a place of love.  And if it doesn’t, get a new BFF, but that’s another problem for another day.

Seriously though, you have to suck it up.  I don’t care if you need to yell and scream on the way but make a plan to do it.  

Why do I feel so strongly about this?  

I have had to reinvent myself so many times in my life and with every time has come a PLETHORA of new skills that I have to learn.  Recently I have taken on one of the most challenging learning curves I have had in my short and full life.  AND IT IS A STRUGGLE.  But the more I see it as that the HARDER it is.  When I break things down step by step and focus on one thing at a time, I am actively teaching myself that I CAN DO IT!  And so can you.  We all can.  The beauty is, I start with what I can do and I go from there.  When I need help I ask, and people help.  AND PEOPLE HELP.  It's great for my self esteem and it's a necessary lesson that we all have to learn. We all put so much pressure on ourselves.  But we can't know what we haven't learned.  So give yourself a break and take it step by step.

Starting a new business?  Need to learn how to run that business?  LEARN.  Learn about social media marketing.  Learn  how to create and maintain a website.  Learn how to tell people about what you do without sounding like an infomercial.  We all have to learn something to do something.

Are you just becoming a painter?  Learn how to mix colours or what the different brushes are for, or even what you are good at and LIKE to paint.  

Becoming an actor?  Train in a way that makes you feel like you can really do it.  Like you know how to drop your ego and create a new human being into this world.  Learn how to memorize and how to look someone in the eye.

It’s the same in any and every profession.  So if you feel like you are stuck because you have to learn something that’s hard to learn.  Just do it.  Despite the resistance.  Despite the scariness.  Despite the ego that keeps telling you that it’s hard and you can’t and why should you have to and why can’t you ever just catch a break in this life?  

All that BS is keeping you from what you love and what you KNOW makes you happy and a life that is rich and full.  So suck it up.  Ask for help.  Learn what you must so that you can TEACH yourself that you can do anything and get through anything.  And you know what, eventually you’ll start believing it.

Now that all the agonizing and whining is out of the way (and don’t worry, that’s usually the first step) how do you learn something that you’re having difficulty wrapping your head around?  It’s like everything.  Take bite size pieces and tackle them one by one.  

Building a website and not techy?  Let’s say you’re dirt broke and you’re starting a new business or venture and you HAVE to have a site.  Don’t start with building a whole site.  Start with your home page.  The page that says what you do, why you do it, and why someone needs to hire you or buy your product.  

Writing a script?  Do you have all these idea’s and thoughts and images and everything that you are thinking is going to make up the most epic trilogy and next billion dollar franchise?  Start with getting something on paper.  Start with a beginning, middle and an end.  Start with a THEME.  Start with a SYNOPSIS.  Or even just a SCENE that you have built the story around.  Start.

Above all. Start.  

It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the time, the resources or the bla bla bla.  Do what you CAN do and start heading in the direction.  Progress doesn’t mean moving forward in leaps and bounds, it means moving forward no matter how big or small the step you take.  You can do this.  Just breathe and do what you can do right now.

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Living a Creative Life

Creativity takes many forms, like,  cooking, cleaning, eating, reading, writing, acting, photography, massage, entrepreneurship and even in just the way one carries themselves.  But when you let any kind of creativity in your life fall to the wayside, that's when you see a life slowly drain from someone’s eyes.  Because to me creativity is life.  It's what motivates and entices.  It's when you feel fulfilled in whatever you are doing and everything that you do becomes fulfilling.  There is creativity in driving a bus when you smile and make everyone feel seen as they walk on.  There is creativity in getting the numbers right on someone’s tax return and scoring them a nice pay-check back from our scroungy government.  There is a beautiful art to being able to communicate a subject that is hard to wrap your head around in school and inspire people to give a shit about learning. There is definitely creativity in putting a needle in someone’s arm going through another round of chemo and making them smile even if it's just for a second.  

There is creativity in every walk of life and no one should ever feel like they can't express what it means to be a kind  human with a sense of creativity in anything that they choose to do.

There are occurrences that happen in a creative life, and in anyone’s life, that I see over and over again that hold people back from their true potential.   We all make excuses "I'm too tired." "I don't have time." "Everything is so expensive." These are all true i'm sure but the fact remains that if you're a writer, you must write. If you're an actor, you must act.  If you're a painter, you must paint. You have to flex the muscles of every creative skill that you want to pursue or they'll never develop.  And I get it, sometimes dreams or goals can be lofty and painful. They can pierce your skin and clench your chest.  They can feel so heavy but they can also make you soar.  If you're goal is to write a feature film and sell it, the only thing that you can control is that you sit your ass down and write it. Then rewrite it because a first draft is never good.  Then write it again, and then have someone edit it, and then write it again.  

You can't control if it'll be a hit or it will even sell.  You can only control you.  And what can you do? You can write.

A problem that a lot of us have right now is that we can't help crawling into our gross noggins and firmly planting our cabooses there.  No one wants to be in their own head, it’s not a friendly place.  We all know, that is where judgement for everyone and everything lies.  Including ourselves.  That's where that creepy little voice comes from that says, "Did you see how that person looked at you?  It's because you're a gross bitch. "  

Whatever your voice says to you, it's a big liar and so the best thing to do is to break up with it.  And the only way out of your head is out there.  

Out in front of you.

Take your finger and hold it about a centimeter in front of your face.  

You are now cross eyed.

But half of you is now out of your head and the other half is judging yourself for even doing that.  

The better thing to do instead of playing into my little joke is to get a person, preferably that you like, and sit them in front of you and get them to tell you about an important time in their life in 5 minutes. No more, no less.  And just listen.  Don't say anything, don't comment, don't think about your story that you have that you want to tell them so that you can relate.  It is not a conversation.  Listen and go on the ride of that story with them.  Then switch and fully tell them your story and have them fully listen.  

Getting out of your head takes time and practice, but trust me, you've had the experience. If you are a movie person, like I am, and you are watching a beautiful scene and you start sobbing and at the end of the movie you take a huge breath because you haven't been breathing. That's being out of your head.  Do that with someone else.

Or go for a hike.  I often walk in the woods and my mind is going on and on about how I am stuck or how my family is annoying, whatever goes on in there and all of a sudden I look up and notice the green.  The incredible beauty of the different greens and the different facets of light that touches the leaves and all of a sudden I am out of my head. I am present with the world around me.

So all in all, be creative, whatever that might mean to you and get out of your head.  It's a more beautiful world out there and you will be happier.

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