If my social media feeds are to be believed, January is that lofty time of the year, when everyone creates their big goals for 2019. Part of that is making a solemn vow to be more focused, healthy and productive. I know this sounds like I’m mocking it, but I’m actually one of those people who do that.
I have bought a few planners in the past, and even filled them, which I always really enjoy. This year I've filled Leonie Dawson's Life Planner from 2017 because I didn't fill it back then two years ago.! It's been nice taking a step back and contemplating the various areas of my life; ranging from health to work to creativity to relationships. It literally covers everything. It's good to stop every now and then and think about the big picture of Life.
Part of the planning process is to regularly look back at the goals you’ve set yourself and review them at least on a monthly basis. So I thought this could be a nice thing to do on my blog. I’ll only be sharing my creative goals, which there are many. Let’s see if I stick to it, but I’ll try it out.
So here's what I did in January:
Kicked-off a project with an awesome agency, which will help me create really cool album art and merchandise
Prepared for my photo-shoot by planning my clothes and make-up (who knew styling is hard work!)
Had an awesome full-day photo-shoot
Selected the final images out of 600+ photos (my head hurts!)
Updated my website and all social media profiles with new photos
Shot and edited a music video for Dark Heart
Worked on mixing the rest of the tracks on the album (nearly there!)
Reached out to several people about mastering the track and got Dark Heart mastered
Prepared and scheduled the Dark Heart single release (8 February!!!)
Here’s the fun part. I have a job and a family so I don't really work on any of this stuff during average weekdays or weekends.
Here’s how I do it - how I’ve always done it. My employer is awesome, so I work four days a week. That leaves me one day a week to work on my art (+ anything else that my life requires aka errands). I also usually work for 1-2 hours before I go to bed.
Probably one of the biggest productivity hacks in my life is commuting by foot! I do a lot of the work in my head, when I walk to work. I "think" about my stuff and get it all planned out in my head and then when I do have a bit of time I will just get it done. I would say 75% of the record was written in this way.
A friend of mine asked me if I’m stressed or burnt out because of all this and I said NO. It’s crazy, but making this record has been an easy and invigorating thing, and everything seems to come together quickly and enjoyably. That’s why it doesn’t feel overwhelming or straining. It’s revitalising!
A sneak peek of my photoshoot
For a long time I felt that I needed to have the perfect moment and tons of time in order to get creative work done, but I think for me it works almost the other way around. When I had lots of time, I also wasted a lot of it. So much can be done with very little.
I've also let go of the idea that everything needs to happen super fast. I now believe that continuous, sustainable pace is what ultimately wins. It's the rush and the impatience that kill everything: joy, relationships and ultimately the projects themselves.
I would even say that not constantly working on my art is what makes me get so much done. All these different areas in my life balance each other out. My job gives uses a very different part of my brain, and I constantly learn new skills on how to lead projects and how to work better with other people.
Equally, spending time with my family fills my life with other things as well and gives me a break from working. Each of these areas re-charge me as I move between them.
I'm sure the rest of the 2019 won't be quite as productive as my January has been, but right now I'm in a good flow, and many of the pieces are getting done. I’m looking forward to brining them to you in the next few months.
So that was my January. Maybe it will help you as well, by showing you that a lot can be done even when time is very limited. Perhaps it will encourage you to work on your personal goals or your art, if you feel that you can't do them because of lack of time.