Sunday, July 24, 2011

Process over Product

I am deploying a new productivity strategy this week.  Inspired by my last post on effort plus the concept of time-management in weekly blocks from the book 168 Hours, I have decided to make a to-do list not of things I must accomplish, but rather of areas into which I want to be putting effort and how much time I will spend in each area.  For example, instead of saying "bike 100 miles this week", I am saying "bike 11 hours this week" (one longer ride and three shorter rides); instead of saying "transfer all automatic payments to new bank account" I am saying "banking: 2 hours".  I think sometimes I don't start a project when I don't think I can finish it, when even putting 30 minutes towards something would certainly be better than endlessly putting it off into the future.  I am hoping that by committing myself to time blocks, regardless of whether or not I finish the task at hand, I will end up accomplishing more overall.

I am hopeful for this new strategy particularly for my writing, as I realized today that it is more like what I used to do when I was pursing my singing career.  "Practicing" has no definable outcome (except perhaps learning the notes of a new piece or translating a new role) -- it is just something you do every day for a certain amount of time.  I would often just grab 30 minutes here or 30 minutes there to practice -- whatever I could fit in.  But with my writing, I have looked at it more like "I have to finish this scene" or "I have to finish this draft by x-date", instead of just spending a certain amount of time writing, regardless of how far I actually get.  So I have decided to start focusing on the process, rather than the product.  After all, the process really is the important part, because in the creative arts, often times the process is all you get.

I have blocked out a total of 10 hours this week for writing, including 2 for this blog, so you'll be seeing me again very soon!
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