You’ve decided to start a creative project and you know what you want to work on.
But how do you get started and, more importantly, how do you keep going?
You see, deciding what to do is the easy the part. The hard part is getting the work done, especially if just thinking about work makes you want to lie down.
Let’s get to work...
It’ll come as no great surprise to most of you, that when you are low on energy, you can’t work all day like a mad dog. Nor can you work all day when you simply don't have much time.
That doesn't mean you can’t achieve anything though.
Or even that you can’t achieve things quickly - what it means is you have to be smart about what you do and when you do it.
Over the years I’ve had to work out different strategies to help me get things done. This is because of the limitations my illness (ME/CFS) placed on me.
When I started my first creative project, I realised I can’t be the type of person that burns the candle at both ends (or even at one end) for very long.
But, I was able to make good progress. I did this by sticking to the mantra of little and often.
Working for short periods on a consistent basis, my skills improved and I began to reach my goals. Looking back over time, I could see all the things I had achieved.
Little and often.
One of the benefits of working consistently is that it builds confidence in your ability to achieve things. As you chip away at your work, you’ll start to see real improvements.
As your skills develop over time the process will become easier and more enjoyable.
So, how do you get started?
There are a few simple techniques you can use to get your creative project moving along, even if you have limited time or energy:
Set aside some time.
On the days you can work, set aside short, manageable periods of time.
Avoid doing too much too soon. Start with shorter intervals than you think you can manage; 15-30 minutes is ideal. Less if it’s all you can do - even a few minutes will get you moving.
You’ll be surprised at what you can get done in a short amount of time if you focus.
Try to be consistent.
You don’t have to work every day, but, if you want to see improvements you have to keep moving down the road.
If all you can manage is once a week, that’s fair enough. It’s a start and you will see things develope over time.
You can increase when and how much you work as and when you feel able. To begin with I would aim for about 3-5 days a week if you can manage it.
Pick one thing to focus on.
If you're going to sit down and work, make sure you do the one thing that moves your creative project on the most.
This will usually be your core work; the thing you want to improve or develope the most.
Break things down into small segments and work on one at a time. Keep it simple. For example, you could: do one drawing, paint, write one line or one paragraph, add 5 images to instagram, brainstorm name ideas for your website.
Pick whatever you feel you need to do to move your project on.
Set a timer.
Setting a timer is great way to get things done. It really focuses the mind. All you have to do is concentrate on your work for the set amount of time. Here’s how:
First, have to hand whatever tools you need to do the work: pen and paper, paints out, craft supplies ready, software or applications you use open.
Second, make sure you are not going to be distracted: no phone calls, no one coming into your room, no internet. Start your timer and focus on your work and nothing else until the time is up. Then stop.
Building a system.
The reason working little and often works so well is that is doesn’t overwhelm you.
It allows you to achieve things in a way that works for you. You can build a system that’s about getting things done.
If you begin working for short periods of time on a consistent basis, you will see your skills and your projects progress. Each time will build confidence as you achieve small goals.
Be super focused and you’ll get even more done.
It’s a great feeling to work on an exciting project and watch it come to fruition.
Achieving it despite of any limitations is even better.
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