So, I had a friend (one of those overachieving, hardworking types… gross) ask me if I could write this months ‘In No Particular Order’ article on “time management”. After I got done wiping away the tears of laughter from the thought that I have ANY sort of authority to speak on this subject; I said “Okey Dokey”. Because, A: it’s hard to say ‘No’ to a pretty face… B: The very fact that I suck at managing time is exactly why I should be writing about it. (Case in point: I’m turning in this article 2 days past my actual deadline. Whoops. Sorry Helenna!) Researching this will be a good learning experience for me.
I don’t feel like talking down to you, so I’m going to skip the super obvious tips like “make a to-do list” and, instead I’ll stick with a few of the ideas I found that I personally don’t do (or don’t do often enough) AND should be relatively easy to start implementing right away…. You know… on the next article…
1. Create Small Manageable Chunks
I interpret this in two ways; first is “big picture”. Say you have a large project that you have decided that you want to tackle, like creating your first short film. Take that daunting beast of an idea and cut it up like a prison yard snitch. Piece it into smaller, individual goals like: create a budget, gather a team, scout locations, etc. These should be treated almost like they are separate things and as you tick each one off the list, take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
The second way to chunkify (not a word. Sticking with it.) is in “daily life”. Sometimes when I have too much on my plate I end up hopping around from task to task like a headless chicken on meth. So, by giving myself specific chunks of time for each task (ie. Time limits) it helps to reel in the ADD a smidge
To some peeps, that might add stress, but for me, it’s just a reminder of how I’m doing with my time and helps to keep me on track for the day.
2. You Dah Boss
You are running your own career. The person that is the most vital to the success of this company is you. You are your own CEO. Someone who cancels a really important meeting with the CEO gets fired. Don’t get fired. The company needs you.
So, when you schedule things to do in your day/week like study a new script or kick-ass at the gym, you are making appointments with yourself. Categorize them by level of importance. Examples: Character research > Laundry and The Gym > Laundry (Basically everything is more important that Laundry…). You do NOT cancel the important meetings with the boss. If you need to, make actual appointments with yourself in your schedule book/ Google calendar/ iPhone app-amajiggy. Whatever the hipsters are using these days.
3. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
It wasn’t cool in middle school, and it’s not cool now. What I mean by that is; It’s OK to function when you function. If you’re the type that can spring out of bed when your alarm goes off at the butt-crack of dawn, then more power to you! High-Five! (But, fair warning, my jealousy makes me want to give you a kidney punch at the same time.) But, if you’re one of those who feel like your synapses don’t start firing until 11:00 (AM or PM…I don’t judge), then that’s cool too. Adjust your day according to when you are most efficient. If you can, try and schedule your meetings/auditions/important calls during your sweet spots, and put the less imperative stuff (like laundry…) in the “fuzzy brain” time slots.
4. If it takes less than 5 min, do it right away.
There’s… uhm.. nothing else that I could really add to that. It’s pretty self-explanatory. No need to let small stuff pile up, just get that shit out of the way.
5. You are not a fictional superhero.
This one is less of a tip for “Time Management” and more of a tip for “not shooting yourself in the face because you’re stressed out about Time Management”
Basic idea: don’t self-sabotage by saying that you’re not doing enough. As artists we, by nature, have these beautiful and lofty goals. And when we don’t see enough of a progression in the day to day, we have a tendency to feel like what we are doing is inadequate. Instead feel proud of what you have already accomplished, and look forward to what’s next.
If you want to take a look at the sites that I browsed; here ya go!
Here’s a list of books on the subject (that I haven’t read). And you can’t go wrong with Bonnie Gillespie’s book.
Might as well throw in a list of apps too.
Now, go get ‘em Tiger!