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.