Don't Read This Book
eBook - ePub

Don't Read This Book

Time Management for Creative People

Donald Roos

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  1. 160 pagine
  2. English
  3. ePUB (disponibile sull'app)
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eBook - ePub

Don't Read This Book

Time Management for Creative People

Donald Roos

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As creative people, we have ideas. Some of us have many ideas, others have really good ones, and most of us have many really good ideas. But most of these never see the light of day. Why? If you ask a creative person, the answer will always revolve around time. We simply need time to execute an idea (and do it well)—more time than we have. Don't Read This Book focuses on how to make choices about everything you do in your daily creative practice and life. The book follows the 'To Don't List' method: When you say 'no' to one idea, you have more time to execute another one. In short: the more you subtract, the more focus and time you get. The book is divided into three parts: Life, Workplace, and Projects. It covers everything from defining your life goals, to writing a five sentence-long email, to leaving out as much as possible in a project. Whether you are a student or professional, this book will save you time. (Of course, if you don't read it, you will save some time directly.)

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a Routine

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Note to the reader: This chapter will mainly be of interest to freelancers or independent workers. However, whenever a ‘client’ is mentioned, you can also read ‘boss’ or ‘manager’. Students could in some cases replace ‘client’ with ‘teacher’.

Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.
— Kevin Ashton
[How to Fly a Horse]

Daily Routine

Get on a daily routine…
Working is a process not a product.
— Nicoletta Baumeister
The Dutch writer-journalist Hans den Hartog Jager wrote a beautiful book on artists’ working methods. He interviewed fourteen of the most important contemporary artists based in the Netherlands, among whom Constant, Armando, Marlene Dumas, and Robert Zandvliet. There were great differences in their methods, but the major thing they had in common was that they each had a routine: a fixed way of working.
The mind of a creative is a chaotic fusion of ideas and thoughts. The only way to convert that chaos into work is to ensure that you organize your daily life. President Obama wears a blue or grey suit every day; Mark Zückerberg is always dressed in a hoodie. They both claim to have so many choices to make on any given day, that they don’t also want to choose their clothes. In short: save time on trivial matters to make time for those that actually need your focus.
I like routine. It enables me to improvise.
— James Nares

Creativity is being boring (most of the time)

At the end of a meeting for a new project my client asked me: “And how will you get started on the project? Will you go lie down on the couch to think about it?” “No,” I replied, “I’m going to get to work.” He expected me to find my inspiration by relaxing on a couch. Perhaps fuelled by liquor and a snort. I had to disappoint him: it’s not all that bohemian or romantic.
A creative profession is arguably the greatest one there is. But we do pay a price for it: incredible dullness. Creating good work doesn’t happen by itself. Even if you have talent, it still is very hard work. No matter how simple or self-evident a final product may seem, — often it contains endless amounts of work, and thus also time.
I go to my studio every day. Some days the work comes easily. Other days nothing happens. Yet on the good days the inspiration is only an accumulation of all the other days, the nonproductive ones.
— Beverly Pepper
In order to do great work, you will sometimes mercilessly have to say no to other things. So you will have to move many projects to your ToDon’tList and your social life will take on a different shape than that of many other people. However, only working is not healthy either. It is better to regularly take some time off. You can also incorporate this into your routine. You don’t have to become a monk in order to be productive. Or rather: be a naughty monk. Don’t forget: monks also brew beer.
The quiet people just do their work.
— Joyce Carol Oates

Think of a concept for your studio

In order to create a work routine you need a workplace. Consider your own needs: if you need lots of concentration, you might want a place of your own. If you enjoy collaborating with people, a place in a collective building might be more interesting.
Select a strategic location and consider the setup. Do you often need to print things? Then don’t spend your entire day at Starbucks, as you will continuously be going back and forth to the copy shop. And position yourself in the vicinity of your clients. This will save you lots of travel time and makes it easier to run into potential clients and other creatives.
I don’t really have studios. I wander around people’s attics, out in fields, in cellars, anyplace I find that invites me.
— Andrew Wyeth

Go to Bed!

The No Sleep attitude is overrated

Some people think it’s cool to ‘complain’ about how much and how late they work. What they actually mean to say is: ‘I have little time for sleep, because I have so much to do and that’s because I’m successful.’ You could also read: ‘I’m so bad at planning and making choices that I am now stuck working through the night.’ I feel that the latter is usually true.
There, that is our secret: go to sleep! You will wake, and remember, and understand.
— Robert Browning
Luckily, other people swear by a good night’s sleep. If you sleep well, you are much fresher and therefore have a much sharper mind (which helps you to make the the right decisions). Even if you have a deadline, at a certain stage and hour you lose your sharpness. You might think you are progressing, but you’re only correcting your own corrections. Go to bed! Get some sleep and get up an hour earlier the next morning. When you’re rested, you can do the same work in a fraction of the time. And you’ll do it better.

Quit snoozing, take a nap

And then there’s the snooze button. Your alarm goes off and you think: “I’ll grab an extra 10 minutes”. And another 10 minutes, and 10 more to finish. Well, if you have time to snooze for 30 minutes in the first place, you might as well set your alarm for half an hour later. Or just don’t snooze and get up! Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!
Are you tired during the day? Take a nap! A 10-minute nap will instantly freshen you up. Of course, it is easier to do this when you work from home or are the only one in your studio than when you work from a café or in a larger studio. (That’s why my mother used to take a quick nap on the toilet at her work.)
Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two…
— Winnie the Pooh

The Joy Of Missing Out

A new age always introduces a new problem. In this age of smartphones and social media that problem is FOMO: the Fear Of Missing Out. Symptoms? You continuously walk around with a smartphone in your hands, or take it from your pocket every two minutes.
Smartphones are mighty handy in various situations — I’m not against them. But they can also make you forget to pay attention to the world around you. That’s why I would rather suffer from JOMO: the Joy Of Missing Out.

“Sorry, this is a really important call”… No, it is not

You are talking to someone at a party. Then someone else suddenly gets in between you two and starts a conversation with one of you. Annoying! Why would you let that happen when that third person calls you? You really don’t have to pick up. Is that phone call truly more important than the live conversation you were having?
People often say: “I really need to take this.” But you really don’t. If you first finish your face-to-face conversation and then call back 10 minutes later, the world will most likely not have ended. You don’t have to pick up your phone; you choose to pick it up. Whenever you catch yourself thinking “I must take this call”, replace it with “I choose to take this call.” Then see if this changes anything for you. Of course, you can also apply this principle to other things in your life that you feel you must do.

No wi-fi is a gift

A great advantage of travelling is that you often lack online access. Use the time you are offline to do things you would not usually do if you weren’t. Reading a book, for instance. Or simply enjoying the moment without any messages coming in. Whenever I’m abroad, I never purchase data credit. This way, I can’t check my email, so I don’t have to think about it either.
Many people on the road are constantly preoccupied with where they could go online. Once, I was on a flight when the stewardess announced that this flight offered Internet on board. Everyone immediately ...

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