Getting Stuff Done

One of the more fascinating things about creatives is how we choose this life of ours with no rules, no bosses, no timeclock to punch, no deadlines…

and then we crave structure.

Ah, yes. We’re human like that.

We know freedom feels best when there’s an outline outside of which we can color sometimes.

So.

When I’m huddling with creatives about keeping a schedule — because, let’s face it, we ARE running small businesses here, and that requires some manner of order and organizational flow — one of my favorite things to suggest is the flexy schedule for the schedule averse.

Here’s what I mean:

Instead of clocking in for show bible updates every Tuesday at 4pm, how’s about you commit to a half-hour of show bibling twice a week.

Yep.

Just commit to a finite amount of time a specific number of times within another finite amount of time. Half an hour. Two times. In one week.

This way, you don’t get twitchy about the clock rolling around to 4pm on Tuesday, when the LAST thing you want to do is pull up your Google Alerts, grab that callsheet, fire up Evernote, and do data entry.

Instead, you come home from a great staged reading, open up Airtable, jot a few notes about the people you met or reconnected with, start up a new file on a target you’ve decided to track, set up a new Google Alert for that person, then call it a day for this project.

No fatigue for it. No dread coming up to it. And, o hai, lewk! You just knocked out a half-hour. You’re halfway done with your commitment to show bibling for the week. Yay, you!

Try this flexy schedule approach!

And here’s another scheduling hack to try.

This one, my friends, is so effective that one of my private coaching clients in New York is CRUSHING her goals in just over one week since we sat together and I gave her this assignment.

Say you want to write more. You can’t find time to work on your screenplay, your short, your scene for class, your monologue, your dream footage material. You have ideas. You know you need to write. You just can’t find the time.

That was this brilliant client’s predicament.

Ah… this is easy, I said. (Sure. It’s easy for me. I write for a living. I get twitchy if I’m *not* banging out thousands of words a day. Duh.)

Before you go to bed each night, quit every app on your computer EXCEPT for Final Draft. Leave open the script you’re working on or want to start in on. Leave open a blank doc if you’re starting something new. Have out your notes or outline if you’ve developed such a thing. Everything else? Closed. Off. Shut down.

Go to bed. Sleep well. πŸ˜‰ Wake up, do your morning non-negotiables (for me, this is my moving meditation of Abraham-Hicks and Wii-Fit Plus… daily for 9 years now — before ANYthing else), then when you sit down at the computer, no app gets launched ’til you’ve written something.

Something.

Anything.

But write. Write, woman, write!

It doesn’t have to be “Knock out three pages” or “Finish that troubling scene” or “Work through that sticky subplot” or anything else. It just has to be that you write. Something. Anything. Every damn day.

Then check in with me to let me know you’ve done it.

Boom.

This magical being is ON FIRE like never before. She’s writing WAY more than she thought she would be (and, true, some days it’s a single line of dialogue, then save the doc, quit the program, and tackle a zillion other things… but that’s okay because it’s still showing up for this work FIRST) and it’s the simple combination of using will power when it’s at its strongest (that’d be first thing each day, y’all), having no distractions (seriously, quitting out of apps that draw us into crazymaking wormholes of distraction makes for a nice, sprawling, open space for CREATING when we most need to do so), and being accountable for getting it done (whether it’s reporting in at your favorite Facebook group, sharing with your accountability buddies, or keeping your word to your coach, this “upholding” part of the equation is KEY) that brings about FLOW.

Get stuff done.

Just by building up a muscle for showing up to do it. Even just a wee bit.

What do YOU want to make happen that you just can’t seem to schedule?

Could you try either the “flexy schedule for the schedule averse” *or* the “show up for it first thing, no matter what” method?

I’d love to see you apply either of these tactics — or both! Maybe one for one type of task, the other for another — and then report in about how it’s going! Share here at my blog, tweet me your daily check-in, jam about this with me at the Self-Management for Actors Facebook group, whatever! Just do it! JFDI, in fact. πŸ˜‰

See if you can turbocharge your ability to get things done with these little tweaks.

I can’t wait to celebrate how this works for you!

Creatives of Los Angeles — the last 2017 SMFA Retreat is on the books and you’re invited to join us for a day-long intensive that will up the game for you, forever! Snatch your spot now, as we ALWAYS fill up with these events.

And ladies of LA, if you’ve been wanting to fly with me (like these goddesses of New York did with me recently), the next pole TEASER is coming up and I’d love to cheer you on (and show you my flips too)!

Here’s to a phenomenal weekend, y’all!

Schedule it. πŸ˜‰ Y’know, within all the freedom you crave, of course.

*smooches*


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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4 Comments

  1. Rhianna Basore September 29, 2017 at 8:24 am

    Bonnie, yes! Leaving your writing open is the ultimate ‘sit on your mat’. This was so needed for me as I have been trying to set up the structures to get my little butt down to write projects, not journal/reflect/catalogue, etc. Actually write STUFF. As I told my friend years ago, the reason I wasn’t writing yet was because ‘writers write’ and mostly I seem to think. So I will carve out space and leave my project notebook open so it invites me to come and sit on my mat and actually write. Making the space and the invitation to write so that all I have to do is sit. And! I joined a writer’s group to hold me accountable for pages every week. So awesome. Love the clarity of this idea, Bonnie, thank you!

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie September 29, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Yayayayayayay! Sit on your mat, girl! YES! Love all of this. And you! <3

      Reply
  2. Catherine Campion September 29, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I always say I have more self-control than any human should have, and far too little discipline.
    I schedule every little thing in my day. Then, when the time roles around to do a task, I either git ‘er done, or move ‘er to another available slot in my calendar – a different hour, day or week.
    Works for me!

    And yes to leaving tasks open on your desktop – it haunts me effectively.

    As for getting writing done (screenplays, specifically), I totally stand behind this course:
    http://thecraftcourse.thinkific.com/courses/screenwritingchallenge
    which not only served as an accountability buddy, but also *taught me how to write a screenplay*! I can’t believe what I was able to accomplish in one month.

    Reply

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